We're up for Brum test, says Veliche

VELICHE Shumulikoski today stressed that he is up for the test of finding out where his Ipswich Town team stand.

Elvin King

VELICHE Shumulikoski today stressed that he is up for the test of finding out where his Ipswich Town team stand.

Tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship visit to second-placed Birmingham City will give the Blues, on paper at any rate, their stiffest away task of the season so far.

And the 27-year-old Macedonian international is fit and raring to go to prove that Ipswich can compete with the best in the division.

He played his usual connecting midfield role in Saturday's 2-0 home victory over Derby County, but admitted that he tired towards the end, which is hardly surprising after a hectic week.

“I played for the whole 90 minutes for Macedonia in Montenegro - and was then up at 5am on Thursday morning,” said Shumulikoski. “And it was Thursday evening before I was home in Ipswich.

Most Read

“I went straight to bed and was then in for training on Friday with the manager having no problem with me facing Derby. We won the game well with a good all-round display, but I did feel the pace towards the end.

“Yesterday I trained some more in readiness for tomorrow's game but, after a rest on Saturday night and again last night, I feel fine and raring to go to face Birmingham.

“They are just down from the Premier League and look a very good side. It will be a good test for us, and one that we are up for.”

Magilton has rested Shumulikoski in the past when he has returned from lengthy and strength-sapping European jaunts but was happy to keep the Macedonian's successful midfield partnership with Owen Garvan intact.

Although Doncaster stifled Ipswich's midfield control at the Keepmoat Stadium the previous weekend, the Blues bossed this department again against the Rams.

“Losing to Doncaster is football,” added Shumulikoski. “It happens, and they deserve credit. But, after upping our game again against Derby, we must now look to go on another run.

“Since the draw at Nottingham Forest we have been playing much better and the more I play alongside Owen (Garvan) the better our relationship becomes. We now know how each other is going to play and to get the best out of each other.”

He praised a 'great team effort' and confirmed that he would like to see Darren Ambrose's move back to Portman Road made permanent.

“Beating Birmingham would set us up well,” said Shumulikoski as he headed off for a few hours' rest before the St Andrews crunch.