Scott Loach expects fellow blue-blooded keeper Arran Lee-Barrett to offer stiff competition

SCOTT Loach may have blue blood running through his veins, but he expects Ipswich-born Arran Lee-Barrett to fight just as passionately for the goalkeeper’s jersey this season.

Former academy player Loach spoke excitedly of his boyhood love for Ipswich Town upon completing a �150,000 move from Championship rivals Watford last week.

Lee-Barrett is born-and-bred in Ipswich though, spent time at the club’s academy as a boy and has always spoken of his pride at representing his hometown club in recent years.

Indeed, he recently tweeted about taking his young nephew down to the club’s Planet Blue store to purchase him his first full kit and season ticket.

With loanees David Stockdale and Alex McCarthy having limited Lee-Barrett’s chances last season, the 28-year-old once again looks set to be quickly relegated to the substitutes’ bench – perhaps worse if manager Paul Jewell decides to sign experienced Czech triallist Mari�n Kello.

There is little to separate Town’s two keepers in terms of goals conceded in recent times though. Lee-Barrett has let in 65 goals over his 42 appearances for the Blues, while Loach conceded just three less over the same number of games for Watford.

“Arran has been here a few years now and every time I’ve met him he’s been a great guy,” said Loach, who is four years Lee-Barrett’s junior.

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“It’s hard as a keeper when there’s so much speculation about someone else coming in. I had it at Watford last season when Tomasz (Kuszczak) came in on loan. That’s part of our job as keepers though – it happens to everyone at some point.

“Arran’s a great keeper otherwise he wouldn’t be at this club. I know I’m not just walking straight in here. There will be a fight for the place and that can only be good for both our development.”

Meanwhile, Loach was full of praise for fellow Town summer signing Luke Chambers, saying: “That season when Forest were flying I voted him in my PFA team of the year. I think he’s one of the best defenders in the league on his day.”

He added: “Obviously it didn’t work out here last season, but it was the gaffer’s first season and I see no reason why we can’t kick-on this season.”