Walters pledge to overcome home hoodoo

JON 'Mr Indestructible' Walters today pledged to help get Ipswich Town back to winning ways at Portman Road.

Elvin King

JON 'Mr Indestructible' Walters today pledged to help get Ipswich Town back to winning ways at Portman Road.

The 24-year-old will be in the Blues team against wealthy Queens Park Rangers on Saturday despite having stitches in his head after Tuesday's 1-1 home draw with out-played Charlton Athletic.

Boosted by signing a one-year contract extension this week that takes him to the summer of 2012, Walters will have a key part to play in manager Jim Magilton's side - as he always does.

Walters has suffered four separate head wounds this season when he has been forced to carry on playing with a bandage round his skull.

The ex-Chester man has still started every match after sitting out the opener against Preston because he missed pre-season training around the August birth of his second child.

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Walters nursed a knee problem through most of last season but still played every minute of every game before having a cartilage operation in March that forced him to sit out six matches.

After putting home fans into raptures this time last year with a succession of well-constructed and exciting home wins, the Blues have only managed two league victories in seven home games this campaign.

With Magilton improving matters away from Portman Road after a lack of points on their travels in 2007/08 led to Town missing out on the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs, what is needed now is to break the current home hoodoo.

Charlton were put to the sword for much of Tuesday's game, but with Pablo Counago having a penalty saved and other excellent chances going begging, the Blues suffered a sucker punch when the visitors hit back with a late equaliser with only their second effort on goal.

With only two cleans sheets at Portman Road, Town's forwards have been set with the task of scoring at least two goals to wins games.

And they have struggled to come up to the task with two wins, three draws and two defeats in the seven home league encounters so far.

To ensure that Ipswich do not fall adrift from the promotion-chasing pack three points are needed against QPR, now rated as the wealthiest club in the world after their takeover by moguls from the world of Formula One.

“I am delighted to have signed a contract extension and am looking forward to playing my part in getting Ipswich Town into the Premier League, which has been my aim since I came here,” said Walters.

“We know we are capable of beating QPR and that it is important that we do.”

Town's players had a day off yesterday - with no injuries reported after the Charlton game.

David Norris will be available against after serving a one-match ban and is expected to go straight into the team after some encouraging recent displays.

Pim Balkestein is fully fit after his recent knock, and will be in the squad. Ben Thatcher is training normally after recovering from a thigh strain, but will need a 'reserve' game before getting back into first team action.