Wright relishes midfield battle

DAVID Wright is relishing going head-to-head with Jimmy Bullard and Lee Bowyer in the heart of the midfield at Portman Road.

The popular Wright was a dependable right-back for more than three years at Ipswich Town, but has reinvented himself as a holding defensive midfielder for today’s opponents Crystal Palace.

While an unlikely scenario for many Blues fans, the 31-year-old is clearly loving his new role which will see him in direct competition with the most experienced midfield in the Championship.

Wright, who still lives in Ipswich, said: ”It is going to be a really good test as I think one of Town’s strengths is the experience and quality they have in midfield.

“I am really enjoying playing in the centre. I know my role in the team, I’m not going to be popping up in the box scoring. My role is to sit in front of the back four and break things up and then give the ball to our more attacking options.”

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Wright, who made 128 appearances for Ipswich before he was released by Roy Keane, still has a clear affinity with his former club, and one-time boss Paul Jewell, and should be afforded a warm reception by a bumper Portman Road crowd – with a ticket promotion run by the club expected to swell the crowd to 24,000 this afternoon.

He said: “I had a great time at Ipswich and I enjoyed representing the club on and off the pitch. I was injured last season so I am really looking forward to going back to Portman Road. It will also be great seeing Paul and Hutch (Chris Hutchings) again.”

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Amid reports that Jewell was offered a chance to resign Wright in the summer, the player himself said he knew nothing about the speculation.

And the reunion will stop at 3pm with Wright backing Palace’s young guns to prevent the Blues extending their six-match unbeaten run and potentially ending the night in second place.

And of the Eagles, he said: “I can see why some people might have thought we would struggle this season, but we never believed we would and our form hasn’t surprised us in the dressing room.

“We have had a really good start and we could even have had a few more points – though we can’t be too greedy. Ipswich have really kicked on so it should be a good game and a real test.”

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