Supple sets sights on No. 1 spot

SHANE Supple has had enough of sitting around having spent almost a week in the Blues dug-out in the last three years.

Elvin King

SHANE Supple has had enough of sitting around having spent almost a week in the Blues dug-out in the last three years.

The 22-year-old keeper is due to sign a new Ipswich Town contract before the weekend and then set his sights on putting as much pressure as possible on the Blues' number one keeper Richard Wright.

Supple made 37 Town appearances while still a teenager, but only ten in the last three seasons. He has found himself keeping the substitutes' bench warm for 90 minutes a remarkable 101 times - that's over six days - since the summer of 2006.

In that time he has gone on loan to Falkirk and Oldham where he made a total of nine starts.

Wright, who ended up captaining the Blues at the end of last term, had an impressive first campaign back at Portman Road and won the player of the year award.

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He will be difficult to dislodge, but Supple is going into 2009/10 in a positive frame of mind.

“I want to put as much pressure as possible on Richard,” said Supple, who has already been back working at the club prior to next Thursday's official return for pre-season training. “The manager has confirmed that every player will get a chance to show what they can do in pre-season.

“And this will be my opportunity to impress and press for a place in the team for the start of the season.

“I'm not signing just to sit around as back-up goalkeeper.”

Supple didn't play a first team Town game in 2007/08 and only feature once last term - in the Carling Cup game at home to Leyton Orient.

He came within a whisker of a league start in the autumn when Wright took a while to find his feet after himself sitting on the bench for much of his time at Arsenal, Everton and West Ham.

Supple becomes the third player to sign an Ipswich contract since Roy Keane took over as manager in April joining Alex Bruce and Ed Upson.

Midfielder Liam Trotter has until next Tuesday to make up his mind on the offer of a new deal, while Keane hopes to have at least two of the players he has earmarked to join the Blues in the building within the next week to 10 days.

Keane has confirmed that he will be taking his players away on a warm weather training camp during pre-season.

Spain and Portugal are favourites to host the Town party with Keane saying: “We are looking at a training camp for a few days.

“It's all about getting the fitness levels up and getting the players switched into the mindset we want.”

Roger Johnson, once an Ipswich target, is to join Premier League Birmingham City from Cardiff City.

Bluebirds chairman Peter Ridsdale has said that the Championship club would sell central defender Johnson for �5million providing the deal was structured to their satisfaction.

Former Town defender Hermann Hreidarsson has agreed a new one-year contract with Premier League Portsmouth.

The 34-year-old was linked with a return to the Blues during the January transfer window and his decision to stay on the south coast will end speculation linking the Iceland international with a move to Middlesbrough.