Town’s training ground curse

IPSWICH Town players, beware. You can be struck down by the club’s training ground curse at any moment.

IPSWICH Town players, beware. You can be struck down by the club’s training ground curse at any moment.

I don’t know whether Roy Keane has smashed a mirror, sauntered under a ladder, or glimpsed a black cat walking in front of him over the last few months, but his players are falling like nine-pins.

I am of course referring to injuries, the bane of any footballer’s life.

But not the run-of-the-mill injuries picked up in the heat of battle, during a thunderous Championship clash or a blood-and-thunder cup tie.


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Town, like any other club, have suffered their share of injuries on a match-day. That comes with the territory.

No, it’s the injuries that have blighted the squad on the training ground, at Town’s Playford Road training complex or even abroad, that have been the most bewildering.

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It’s certainly gone beyond a joke for Keane who, in the two days leading up to Christmas, saw both his keeper Brian Murphy and his left-winger Shane O’Connor end up in hospital.

Murphy broke his ankle in training on December 23; O’Connor ruptured his shoulder joint on Christmas Eve. Both will be out for a long time, with Murphy likely to be sidelined for three months and O’Connor out of action for six weeks.

And yet these back-to-back training ground injuries are only the latest in a succession of painful tales, harking back to last summer.

I recall Damien Delaney and Connor Wickham being struck down in pre-season, while both Darren O’Dea and the luckless O’Connor came back early from international duty after injuring themselves during training sessions.

Is it a curse? This low-down would suggest there is:

CONNOR WICKHAM: Injured his ankle during a pre-season training session in late July, which caused him to miss the first month of the campaign.

DAMIEN DELANEY: Suffered a dead leg, during a practice match in July, that led to very serious complications.

The Irishman had to undergo emergency surgery to remove a blood clot and so avoid the threat of having to have his leg amputated. As a result, he only made one appearance before the middle of October.

DARREN O’DEA: Arrived home early from international duty with the Republic of Ireland squad, in early September, having damaged his knee in a training session. A scan revealed a slight sprain, although that didn’t stop him travelling to Armenia for a Euro 2012 qualifier, only to be declared unfit on his arrival.

SHANE O’CONNOR: The 20-year-old also returned to Portman Road with a torn hamstring, after a stint away with the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad in September.

BRIAN MURPHY: Broke his ankle two days before Christmas, and is currently waiting for the swelling to settle down before a decision is made on whether surgery will be required. Ironically, he had only just returned to the team, having played in three of Town’s last four games.

SHANE O’CONNOR: Just six days after delivering a man-of-the-match performance, on his return to the side against Leicester City the previous weekend, O’Connor fell heavily in training on Christmas Eve. He ruptured and dislocated his shoulder joint, and is now waiting to see a specialist later this week. He is expected to be sidelined until February.

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