Keeper Supple show his flexibility

SHANE Supple turned the table on defenders who go in goal by playing at the back for the Blues last night.The Ipswich Town goalkeeper went on as a replacement for the injured Alex Bruce and helped his side stage a comeback to earn a draw at Royal Antwerp.

By Derek Davis

SHANE Supple turned the table on defenders who go in goal by playing at the back for the Blues last night.

The Ipswich Town goalkeeper went on as a replacement for the injured Alex Bruce and helped his side stage a comeback to earn a draw at Royal Antwerp.

Jim Magilton had used all his outfield substitutes when Bruce turned an ankle and Ipswich went behind as he struggled in defence so Supple was introduced with six minutes left.

Town equalised through Gary Roberts with Supple playing his part at left back, as Dan Harding moved inside to cover at centre half.

The young Irishman said: “I certainly didn't expect that. It was a bit of fun to play outfield. The fitness needs some work on but I have got a 100 per cent pass completion so I will take that.

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“If I can't play in goal then I will play at the back - I will play anywhere the manager tells me just as long as I get a game.”

More than 150 Town fans added to a party atmosphere at the Bosuil Stadium.

“The atmosphere was really good and it was a great work out for the lads. Pre-season has gone well for us. We have worked really hard after coming back early and we had to get our heads around that.

“I'm looking forward to the Panathinaikos game on Sunday and the chance for all our fans to see us.”

Town will have to start the season without veteran defender Richard Naylor who has been ruled out of action for up to three months as he needs surgery to cure a long-standing big toe problem.

Initially diagnosed as deep bone bruising, specialists have now discovered the root cause of his injury that goes back to last February is a problem with a cartilage in the digit.

Blues boss Jim Magilton will move to bring in another centre half as cover after losing the veteran defender.

Magilton said: “It is frustrating for him and us. At least they have found out what the problem is and they can sort that out.

“He needs an operation to remove a piece of cartilage in a big toe and he will be missing for up to 12 weeks.

“Bam Bam is an experienced player and a valuable member of our squad so we will miss him.”

Town are keen on Spanish defender Cesar Navas but his foot injury means he will not be available for a month or more, while Magilton could move for former Blue's defender John McGreal who is spending time at Colchester United at the moment.

If cover is not forthcoming Magilton could recall Ian Miller when his loan spell at Darlington runs out at the end of August.

Magilton said: “Ian is not ready to play Championship football at this stage. We needed to get him out on loan for him to get games so we don't hinder his progress. If things don't work out for us then we can bring him back after a month.”

A Gary Roberts goal gave Town a draw at Royal Antwerp last night with Magilton happy with his side's performance.

He said: “There was a real edge to the game and our lads stepped up to that and did very well.”

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