Town star reveals the recent hurt he has suffered

IPSWICH TOWN: Defensive kingpin Gareth McAuley today confirmed the hurt the players suffered when losing three consecutive Championship games last month.

The Blues got back to league winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Millwall at Portman Road on Saturday, and McAuley, who is set to chalk up a century of Town appearances at Sheffield United at the weekend, could not hide his delight.

He said: “We could well look back on this win as a pivotal moment.

“In 50-odd previous games we had not suffered back-to-back defeats - then we lose three on the bounce.

“It was smarting - it was hurting - and we paid a heavy penalty for conceding sloppy goals and we had to get back to doing the basics correctly.

“We definitely needed a win and to build on last week’s Carling Cup success against Northampton Town.

“Now we must look to put a winning run together.

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“If we can manage three or four with the division so tight it would take us right back towards the top again.

“But we know it won’t be easy and we must work hard in training this week on ensuring we don’t repeat the failings that led to those defeats against Coventry, Watford and Nottingham Forest.”

Millwall enjoyed plenty of possession and threatened to score on a number of occasions having two penalty claims turned down.

“We had to show plenty of grit and it needed a few last-ditch tackles to keep a clean sheet,“ added McAuley, who has a rare midweek break having played two games virtually every week so far including his international duties with Northern Ireland.

“Millwall got the ball forward and had runners going off the ball which made it difficult.

“I feel fit and it‘s only early in the season so I just want to keep playing - I enjoy it. But I enjoy it much more when we win.”

McAuley had praise for his fellow defenders. “Damien Delaney has worked really hard to get back to fitness and he wasn’t far away from another goal.

“Tom Eastman has played in five wins and a draw and he’s enjoying himself as he learns the game. He’s playing out of position, but he’s doing a fantastic job.

“And young Ronan Murray puts himself around well and is a lively little customer who has proved he can score goals by his tally in the youth and reserve teams.”

And McAuley, who has started every game this term bar the Carling Cup first round encounter at Exeter, sees striker Jason Scotland remaining a big handful at Portman Road.

“He can’t stop scoring at home and let’s hope he can keep it going,” said McAuley.

“And I’m sure that he will.

“And it won’t be long I’m sure before he is scoring away from home as well.”

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