Jamie Stannard returns to bolster Ipswich Wanderers’ impressive campaign

Thumbs up: Jamie Stannard has returned to the club

Thumbs up: Jamie Stannard has returned to the club - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Wanderers chairman Terry Fenwick cannot wait to see what the rest of the season holds.

Wanderers currently sit in fifth position in the Thurlow Nunn First Division and, with games in hand on their nearest rivals, look well-placed to secure a top-three spot come the end of the season and therefore gain promotion.

“Of course we’d love to get promotion,” said the Wanderers’ chief.

“We’re going well, we have a good squad and the lads are all raring to go for the rest of the season.

“February is a big month for us and this is a big season – Glenn (Read, Wanderers manager) is doing an excellent job and we’ll just keep pushing and pushing until we are hopefully there or thereabouts.”

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As well as league ambitions, Wanderers also have cup aims with Fenwick hoping his men can retain the Suffolk FA Senior Cup, in which they have a semi-final date with Achilles later this month.

“We’d love to win the Senior Cup again,” admitted Fenwick.

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“Last year was a special occasion and we’d love to at least get to Portman Road again.

“Achilles won’t be an easy game for us.

“They might be in the league below but it’s a cup game and everyone wants to knock out the holders.”

Before that though, Wanderers have two huge league games ahead of them, starting with the visit of league-leaders Fakenham Town tomorrow.

The pair were meant to meet last weekend but the Wanderers’ pitch failed to pass an inspection – something Fenwick is hoping the club can get the better of this weekend.

“Again, the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be kind to us but we’ll be doing our utmost to get the game on – we need to play games.”

If Saturday’s game does go ahead, it promises to be a cracker with Wanderers set to name a familiar face in their squad.

Club legend, Jamie Stannard, announced his retirement from the game at the end of last season but, after being persuaded by Fenwick, Read and his former team-mates, has made a surprise comeback.

Goalkeeper Stannard, 34, fittingly retired from the game after saving an incredible four penalties in the shoot-out at Portman Road which saw Wanderers lift the Senior Cup.

“It’s great to see Jamie back,” said the Wanderers chairman.

“We tried to persuade him to stay after his heroic cup exploits but he had made his mind up.

“Fortunately though, he’s given in and has re-signed.”

Fenwick continued: “His boy plays alongside mine for the under-nines and every time I have seen him, I have asked when he is going to sign on again.

“His experience is such a boost to us and he has already lifted the squad no end.

“He’s a great ambassador for the club and it’s just lovely to see him back.”

For all Stannard’s qualities and achievements accomplished in the game, he won’t just automatically walk into Read’s starting 11.

“He faces a real fight to get his previously occupied number one shirt back,” Fenwick added.

“Stanners will have to fight for his place, there’s no doubt about that.

“He’s not going to automatically play.

“Kevin Bugg is having a really good season and is a top goalkeeper so Stanners will have to get used to the bench for now.”

Wanderers could go as high as third should results go their way tomorrow.

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