Thatcher 'delighted' at Town chance

BEN Thatcher got his first 45 minutes under his belt for Ipswich Town in a 7-0 win over Cliftonville and has a hunger for a lot more.

Derek Davis

BEN Thatcher got his first 45 minutes under his belt for Ipswich Town in a 7-0 win over Cliftonville and has a hunger for a lot more.

The experienced and battle-hardened defender is determined to show he is worth a contract during this week in Belfast training with the Blues.

Thatcher last night said: “I'm nowhere near retirement. In my mind I'm still a young man. I'm relatively fit and I'm not carrying any weight.

“I want to carry on as long as I can and feel I can do a job.

Thatcher was at home training on his own when the call came from Jim Magilton and there was no hesitation in accepting the invite.

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Thatcher said: “I had a phone call from Mr Magilton and I was delighted to jump at the chance. There are only so many times you can run on the treadmill.

“They are looking at me and I'm looking at them. I needed to be playing pre-season games. I was happy to get minutes under my belt and go from there.

“I'm hoping he offers me something.”

Thatcher left Charlton at the end of last season after an initial offer was withdrawn.

He added: “I had an 18 month contract and was offered a new deal towards the end of last season.

“But things changed when I got back and the manager's budget meant some players could not stay.

“I have no grievances with Alan Pardew or Charlton - it is just the way things go in football.”

The 32-year-old has been released by Charlton and Magilton moved sharply to invite him to Belfast and train with the squad.

The former Millwall, Wimbledon, Spurs, Leicester City and Manchester City, defender has made more than 350 career appearances and is the ideal sort of experienced and committed full-back Magilton has been searching for to add steel to his back line.

Controversy has dogged the Swindon-born player and he currently has a 15-match ban hanging over his head.

The suspension was part of the punishment handed down by the FA two years ago after he wiped out Pedro Mendes while playing for Manchester City.

He was given an initial eight match ban with the 15 games suspended until the end of August 2008.

Although Thatcher played for England Under 21's, and England universities, he has played for Wales at full international level and won seven caps before falling out with John Toshack.