Jokers cheer up Westlake

HE may not be Peter Kay, but Andy Rhodes could have Ipswich Town laughing all the way to the Premiership.Young midfielder Ian Westlake admits he could easily fall into the trap of feeling a bit sorry for himself, after a horrific collision with Gavin Ward left the Preston keeper unconscious and suffering a nasty cut to the face.

By Derek Davis

HE may not be Peter Kay, but Andy Rhodes could have Ipswich Town laughing all the way to the Premiership.

Young midfielder Ian Westlake admits he could easily fall into the trap of feeling a bit sorry for himself, after a horrific collision with Gavin Ward left the Preston keeper unconscious and suffering a nasty cut to the face.

But Ipswich's goalkeeping coach's unfailing good humour and unbounded joy at being at Portman Road is proving infectious and keeping the Blues' blues at bay.


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Ward is still recovering, and Westlake revealed to the EADT that he has sent the keeper a personalised note.

He said: “I have sent him a card just to say that I'm sorry and to explain it was an accident and give him my best wishes in getting better.

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“I was feeling down after that challenge, because you never want to injure anyone, and to hurt a fellow professional was horrible.

“It was accidental, if anything their lad nudged me into him but I was still upset.

“I can remember Richard Wright and can understand how he must have felt after accidentally breaking Luc Nilis' leg. That was awful and he must have felt terrible. But that was accidental and you have to get on with it.

“We are not a nasty team here, we don't have any nasty players who would deliberately hurt an opponent. If anything, the Gaffer says we are not nasty enough, and we need to be sometimes to grind out results, but that still doesn't mean any of us would be dirty.”

The Clacton lad, who graduated through the Town Academy, has been struggling with a gashed Achilles, a sore calf and a cut on a knee that opens during every game, and the intensity of a promotion battle is taking its toll.

Westlake candidly admits: “Everything is sore at the moment. I'm going through a niggly injury patch but you just have to play through it.

“This is my first full season and playing every game is tiring. I used to go for a swim during the week between games but now I'm so tired it is feet up at home.

“I never thought I would ever be this tired but I do feel it, so it is important to rest and relax as much as possible.

“The training has eased off, although there is the same quality and that helps.”

Westlake is known as a chirpy chappy around the dressing room but confessed the knocks, injuries and gruelling pressure of his first full Championship challenge would have left him miserable if it were not for the likes of Rhodes, and some of the senior players, who make the young ones realise how lucky they are to be playing for Ipswich Town.

Westlake aid: “You do have to laugh it off and get on with it. I'm naturally lively but I still find it hard sometimes. Yet you get someone like Jim Magilton and Andy Rhodes, who are just such a laugh.

“They are great to have around because they keep you on their toes and there is never a dull moment and they are brilliant of you are feeling down.

“I have never seen anyone like Andy, who comes into work every day so happy just to be here. He makes you realise how happy I am to be here playing football.

“And it makes you think 'come on, I know we have had a sticky patch and a bad result but let us not get down about it'.

“Every team has a bad patch, Wigan had theirs and have came through, perhaps this is ours and we need to bounce back and come back stronger.

“Everyone helps each other, the new guys have come in and settled straight in and David Unsworth, for example, is just so happy to be starting every week and playing again and is another who is good to have around.”

After losing 2-1 at home to Watford on Tuesday, Ipswich are looking to put things right, especially for the Blues supporters.

Westlake said: “It won't be a backlash as such but I'd like to think we can bounce back against them.

“If we can get the ball down and pass it about then, as a big team, they may struggle with the ball on the floor and we will create chances - and this time we will score them.

“The fans have been so good this season and they didn't deserve a result like that. We played well, although we can play better, and we created enough chances but we were not happy with the way we conceded both the goals.”

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