Supple loan will make him better keeper

IPSWICH Town goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes today said no one at Portman Road is writing off Shane Supple.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes today said no one at Portman Road is writing off Shane Supple.

Rhodes stressed his continuing faith in the 20-year-old, who has not started a first team game this season, and expects the lad from Dublin to return from his season-long loan at Falkirk a better keeper.

“I played in Scotland during my playing days and the 15 to 20 matches that Shane will play for Falkirk will be just what he wants,” added Rhodes.

“He will slot in well, and the three month move is tailor made for him.”

Rhodes is also keen to increase his workload at Ipswich.

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“I want to have three senior keepers on our books next season,” he said. “If we reach the Premier League we will need them.”

Nic Colgan has every incentive to impress after joining the Blues from Barnsley just hours before the close of the January transfer window.

Rhodes revealed that he was the man behind the move to bring 34-year-old Colgan to Portman Road.

Colgan has signed a form to the end of this season, and made his Town debut in the reserves last night.

Rhodes said the Republic of Ireland international has everything to play for as he competes with Stephen Bywater for a first team spot.

“Nic will be looking to gain a new contract in the summer and if he can help us gain promotion out of the Coca-Cola Championship this is more likely to happen,” said Rhodes.

“I bumped into him when I went to watch Barnsley in the FA Cup against Southend, and he said he was set leave Oakwell.

“I have known Nic for a while, and knew he would be an ideal choice if we were able to loan out Shane Supple to play first team games.

“At the time we did not know about Neil Alexander leaving, but with the financial deal we received from Rangers - and Neil's wish to return to Scotland - it was the sensible thing to let him go.

“Neil did very well, but in Stephen Bywater we have someone capable of taking us further.

“I have two new toys to play with. It is like a breath of fresh air, and although we work hard the atmosphere is very jovial.”

Bywater made a favourable impression on his debut in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday.

“We played well right throughout the team with the new boys all doing well,” said Rhodes, whose 17-year-old striker son Jordan has made two Ipswich first team substitute appearances.

“In five days time we will know a lot more about ourselves. Watford at home on Saturday and Crystal Palace away on Tuesday are tough games, and if we come out of them in credit we will be in good nick.”

N (SQUARE) IPSWICH midfielder Velice Sumulikoski (Shumee) won his 47th Macedonian cap in the 1-1 draw with Serbia in a friendly in Skopje last night.

Town defender Alex Bruce was not included in the Republic of Ireland side that lost 1-0 to Brazil in Dublin.