We’re behind you Chops

THE stars of the Super Blues have fully backed Michael Chopra to overcome his gambling demons.

Club captain Grant Leadbitter and midfield partner, Keith Andrews, put on a united front in support of the striker who today talks about the full extent of his addiction.

Just hours after Blues boss Paul Jewell revealed his top striker had spent three weeks seeking help at the Sporting Chance clinic, Leadbitter and Andrews backed their team mate to win his long-standing gambling problem.

Leadbitter, a good pal of Chopra’s from their days at Sunderland, said: “Everyone supports Chops and he has good people at the football club to look out for him. Players go through difficult times in their careers but we are all behind him.

“When he is on the pitch, he is one of our best players. He is a good friend of mine, a good person with a good heart. He is strong enough to get through it.”

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Jewell said yesterday that Chopra had barely trained for three weeks – culminating in him being dropped for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Crystal Palace.

But the striker has been back firing this week and the Blues boss confirmed Chopra would start upfront in tomorrow’s trip to Millwall.

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And Andrews added: “Chops has been bubbly in training, he seems back to himself. He has a long road ahead of him but he has looked very sharp.

“He is a fantastic finisher and definitely our main goal threat, so we need him back firing as soon as we can.”

And Town’s team spirit, something that has been evident all season, will rally round Chopra.

Keeper David Stockdale yesterday tweeted: “Hope the Ipswich fans and all fans can support a player with an illness and help the guy!! Proud of him for standing up and getting help!!!”

And Andrews added: “The last few weeks haven’t been ideal, if we are being honest, but we kept that in-house and remained professional.

“Over the last few months, we have bonded well and we all get on very well, which is rare in this day and age. Obviously Michael has had a problem for quite some time and he has had the courage to come out and deal with it.

“The manager, the chief executive and the owner have all been very good in helping him deal with it and the lads are fully behind him as well. We are all in this together.”

n Read Dave Gooderham’s thoughts on Michael Chopra at www.greenun24.co.uk/blogs

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