UPDATED: Richard Wright handed Town number one shirt
RICHARD Wright has been handed the number one jersey at Ipswich Town.
The decision comes as Paul Jewell gave his backing to the returning Wright to push David Stockdale all the way in the race for the Blues number one spot.
The current custodian has been largely blameless despite conceding more goals than any other keeper in the Championship this season.
But Stockdale will now face competition from Ipswich boy Wright, back at the club for the third time, as well as Arran Lee-Barrett.
And Jewell believes the 34-year-old won’t be content with just playing second-fiddle to Stockdale, explaining: “Richard has been training with us all summer and he has been absolutely terrific.
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“He’s keen as mustard, he comes back in the afternoons – even though he’s not been getting paid – and is a credit to the game. I was thinking about maybe giving him something until the end of the season. Then Kenny Jackett (the Millwall manager) phoned me up and asked me about Richard – so I signed him.
“I think QPR came in as well but with Richard being on the doorstep here, and having close ties with Ipswich, he was delighted to sign.”
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Although the deal is only until the end of the season, Jewell believes Wright still has a few good years in him yet.
He said: “He’s not that old for a goalkeeper and he has been terrific in training. You never know what happens – we have Stocky on a 24-hour recall and there is a lack of goalkeepers out there. Richard is definitely in the reckoning – I’ve got a decision to make now between who is on the bench between him and Arran Lee-Barrett.”
With tomorrow’s home match against Reading something of a must-win following four straight losses, Jewell admitted he was considering changes – both in personnel and formation.
He should be able to welcome back influential midfielder Keith Andrews who is making good progress from his broken nose suffered while on international duty.
But there was less welcome news for former Reading stalwart Ibrahima Sonko who is unlikely to win his race to be fit after tearing his hamstring.
Former Reading skipper Ivar Ingimarsson, who spent almost eight years at the Madejski Stadium, is expected to start alongside Danny Collins in the heart of the Town defence.
Daryl Murphy should come back into contention after his 45 minutes with the reserves in midweek, but one young lad who might have to bide his time a little longer is 15-year-old Byron Lawrence.
Asked about whether he would consider the schoolboy in tomorrow’s squad, Jewell said: “It wouldn’t faze him, but it’s just picking the time and place for us to stick him in.”
In a poll on this website earlier this week, 46% of people who voted wanted to see Lawrence included in tomorrow’s matchday squad, a further 31% thought it was too soon but they wanted to see the teenage starlet at some stage this season.