Town doubt says he’s okay to face Forest

IPSWICH TOWN: Gareth McAuley’s Blues future may be in doubt but he insists he’s ready to face Nottingham Forest at Portman Road in this afternoon’s Championship fixture (kick-off 3pm).

The 31-year-old central defender made a surprise return in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Coventry City although manager Roy Keane has written off the Northern Ireland international playing two games in three days after seven weeks out following an Achilles operation.

But McAuley, who like skipper David Norris is currently in discussions about extending a contract that ends in the summer, countered:

“My leg feels better than I remember. It’s very pleasing. I was in a bit of pain for some while before having to resort to an operation.

“It feels fine now and I had ice treatment on the coach on Saturday night.

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“After seven weeks out you can lose your edge, but unless there is a reaction I feel okay to face Forest.”

And talking of his contract situation that is dragging on and now allows him to talk to other clubs, McAuley added: “My future is still ongoing. It will take care of itself and I’m focussed on my fitness.”

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And Norris said: “It’s all gone quiet. I thought we were close.”

McAuley praised Ipswich’s fitness coaches and physios for his rapid return to action.

“I covered all the stages in the last couple of weeks that the guys wanted,” said McAuley.

“And I trained for a few days - with the boss happy to play me.

“The backroom staff have worked wonders for me - I was told it would be six weeks before I could train and 10 weeks before I could play; the operation was only six weeks ago.”

And pointing out the importance of today’s match, McAuley went on: “It’s vital we get a run going.

“After our recent run of defeats we need to get our heads down and move back up table.

“We need to repeat Saturday’s first half performance for 90 minutes today.”

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