Jason anchors Town defence

ONE of the major factors in Ipswich Town topping the table is four clean sheets in six games.The new confidence in a Blues defence is largely down to summer signing Jason De Vos, who helped his new team overtake his old club Wigan at the Championship summit.

By Derek Davis

ONE of the major factors in Ipswich Town topping the table is four clean sheets in six games.

The new confidence in a Blues defence is largely down to summer signing Jason De Vos, who helped his new team overtake his old club Wigan at the Championship summit.

De Vos has anchored a back line that has been together for every game since Fabian Wilnis returned from suspension in mid-October.

Drissa Diallo and Richard Naylor have played every minute of every game this season, while De Vos has missed just 64 minutes of the 5-1 win over Sheffield United, despite suffered a fractured leg and toe while on international duty.

Having Kelvin Davis in goal helps, since his return from injury he has kept three clean sheets in four outings. The continuity contrasts sharply with last season, when it was rare if the same combination played two games in a row.

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De Vos said: “Familiarity breeds confidence and, the more we play together, the stronger we feel as a partnership and that is important.

“You need that understanding with the player beside you in order to keep the team shape and organise the lads in front of us.”

Not that it has always been easy, and against lowly Brighton the Town defence had their hands full at times.

De Vos admitted: “There were a lot of anxious moments. One-nil is a horrible scoreline because all it takes is a slip, or a decision to go against you, and the ball it is the back of the net and you have lost two points.

“It was good to keep the clean sheet and the lads battled hard and threw themselves in front of everything to make sure we kept it.

“It would have been nice if we had of taken the chances at the other end.”

They say decisions go for you when you are top - Town will remember when they were bottom and many went against them - and twice Brighton appealed for penalties.

De Vos admitted: “We would say the referee was right, they will say not, but that is football. Some weeks it goes for you, some weeks against.

“It is not an easy job being a referee, and I wouldn't want to criticise, but there were some anxious moments when he blew his whistle because we thought he might point to the penalty spot. Although I was confident he would get it right.”

The Canadian skipper has made it clear recently that he intends to put his international commitments on the back burner now his country have been eliminated from the World Cup qualification.

He confirmed: “For the rest of the season my priority now is to focus on getting Ipswich Town into the Premiership. Like every player, I want to test myself at the highest level and we have a great opportunity of doing that here, so it would be a shame to do too many things and be distracted from achieving our goal.

“It has been easier not having to deal with the travelling and I feel better for the rest.”

Town will be looking for their eighth clean sheet of the season next week when they travel to Crewe, the Blues managed just eight in all competitions last season.

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