Time for Town to address ludicrous keeper situation

Stephen Henderson

Stephen Henderson - Credit: Archant

IPSWICH Town have to finally address their ludicrous goalkeeper situation this summer – and hopefully the damage won’t have been done following yet another season of uncertainty between the sticks.

Having kept six clean sheets in nine games, loanee keeper Stephen Henderson was recalled by parent club West Ham yesterday.

The Premier League club made use of their 24-hour recall clause, just as Fulham did with David Stockdale and Reading did with Alex McCarthy last season.

Just four points above the relegation zone with eight games to go, Blues boss Mick McCarthy will put his side’s fate in Scott Loach’s hands – a player he was quick to drop earlier in the season.

Alternatively, he could go out and sign another keeper on an ‘emergency’ loan before next Thursday’s deadline.

That would take the number of loan signings for the season to a staggering 16. It would take the number of players used this season to 40.

This shouldn’t be happening. Your goalkeeper, your No.1, should be the bedrock of your side. Yet Kelvin Davis is the only keeper to make more than 40 appearances for Town in consecutive seasons over the last decade.

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Last season, then Blues boss Paul Jewell said: “If a general football fan was asked ‘who’s Ipswich’s goalie?’ in recent years then I doubt anyone would have immediately sprung to mind.

“Richard Wright was always a name which people knew, but in recent years we’ve had Lewis Price, Arran (Lee-Barrett), (Shane) Supple, Brian Murphy, the list goes on. By contrast we all know who West Ham’s goalie is, or Reading’s, for example.

“We want to get to the stage where our goalkeeper is recognised and he’s an established No.1.”

He added: “It’s galling enough when your own player gets injured, but when a player gets injured elsewhere and it means you lose a loan player it’s frustrating. It’s certainly not been ideal having two loan keepers.

“We want to go with a permanent keeper next year, or if it’s a loan, we don’t want that 24-hour recall.

“We are looking for players in that position.”

Boyhood Blues fan Loach looked to be that man following his summer switch from Watford, but high profile errors in a home defeat to Cardiff City soon saw Henderson brought in.

Town lost out to Brighton for Tomasz Kuszczak last summer. They lost out to Norwich for Lee Camp in January too.

This summer they need to find their man and stick with him. Because 18 keepers in 11 seasons is simply unacceptable.

02/03: Andy Marshall 50 starts + 0 as a sub, Paul Gerrard 5 (loan), James Pullen 2

03/04: Kelvin Davis 51, Lewis Price 1

04/05: Davis 42, Price 9+1

05/06: Price 26, Shane Supple 22+1

06/07: Price 38, Supple 12+1, Mike Pollitt 1 (loan)

07/08: Neil Alexander 31, Stephen Bywater 17 (loan)

08/09: Richard Wright 50, Supple 1

09/10: Brian Murphy 16, Arran Lee-Barrett 14+1, Wright 13, Asmir Begovic 6 (loan), Supple 1

10/11: Marton Fulop 38, Murphy 9, Lee-Barrett 7

11/12: David Stockdale 18 (loan), Lee-Barrett 19+1, Alex McCarthy 10 (loan), Richard Wright 1

12/13: Scott Loach 17, Stephen Henderson 24 (loan)