Tommy putting club before country

TOMMY Smith has put on hold his New Zealand World Cup dreams.

TOMMY Smith has put on hold his New Zealand World Cup dreams.

The 20-year-old left-sided defender is expected to come back into the Blues’ side for Saturday’s home Championship game against Doncaster that could see Town move into the top half of the table.

Damien Delaney will be struggling to play again this season after suffering ankle ligament damage in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest – Ipswich’s biggest away defeat of the season.

Smith came on as a substitute to replace Delaney after 54 minutes and is in line to start the final three games of the campaign as Gareth McAuley’s defensive partner.

“Ipswich pay my wages, and my first priority is for them,” said Smith, who was born in Macclesfield, but brought up in New Zealand.

“To play in the World Cup finals in South Africa in the summer is a dream, but I’m concentrating first and foremost on Ipswich Town.

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“Anything that happens – in international football say – comes as a bonus.

“I’d love to be involved in the Ipswich first team next season.

“I can’t have any complaints at not being in the side as Gareth and Damien have been playing so well as a pair.

“But competition for places is good and I want to push them hard.

“When my chance comes I plan to take it while I can.

“If Damien is out on Saturday I’m ready to step in.”

Smith says that spending time on loan at League One Brentford earlier this season was just what he needed, and went on: “I needed a decent run of games to gain experience in league football and to get my confidence back.

“It did me the world of good. The manager here was happy to let me go – to improve me and to improve his squad as a whole.”

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