'We are hungry' - Town skipper

GARETH McAuley, the Ipswich Town skipper, today said that he has the answer to the Blues' erratic home form.

Elvin King

GARETH McAuley, the Ipswich Town skipper, today said that he has the answer to the Blues' erratic home form.

Players, manager and spectators alike were left shaking their heads after a dreadful display in the 3-0 defeat by lowly Southampton in the previous Town home match.

They go into tomorrow's game against high-flying Burnley knowing that a win would keep them in touch with the Coca-Cola Championship play-off group.

“We did not do the ugly side of the game against Southampton,“ said dominant defender McAuley.

“Since then we have worked hard at getting a foothold in the game. And when we do that we have the players to take advantage.

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“There is a real doggedness in the side now.

“We're hungry and hard to beat - now we've got to continue that tomorrow.

“We had to dig deep again on Saturday but in the second half we had lots of possession.”

McAuley returned to the team at Reading after his one-match ban, and he heaped praise on his defensive partner Pim Balkestein who got the nod to stay in the side ahead of Ivan Campo.

“If he carries on as he is now I can see him becoming a really important player here,” said McAuley.

“He has a big future ahead of him and he ha sjust helped keep clean sheets against two of the top three sides.

“Pim has been working really hard with coach Steve Foley and assistant manager John Gorman.

“He asks questions and wants to learn, but he's also got great confidence in his own ability.”

And McAuley says that loanee Giovani Dos Santos can make an impact after arriving from Tottenham until the end of the season.

“We did not know about him until he arrived at the hotel on Friday night,“ said McAuley.

“Gio's come with a big reputation and I'm excited to see what he can do for us.

“He's got quick feet and good movement.

“It's a real lift for us because at one point the big clubs like Chelsea were after him and now he's at Ipswich.

“If he can come in and score goals then it'll be great for everyone.”