Leaky Blues defence is the priority

WILLIE Donachie has vowed to tighten up the Blues' leaky defence even if it means tinkering with the whole philosophy of the club.And the Blues assistant manager refused to allow the threat of unemployment change his approach to every game and every new season.

By Derek Davis

WILLIE Donachie has vowed to tighten up the Blues' leaky defence even if it means tinkering with the whole philosophy of the club.

And the Blues assistant manager refused to allow the threat of unemployment change his approach to every game and every new season.

The EADT last week revealed that manager Joe Royle will be given a year's extension on his contract if the Blues are promoted at the end of next season, but if they do not go up there will be a parting of the ways - and that inevitably means Donachie leaving along with Royle.

While a horrendous injury catalogue and appalling decisions by officials have blighted the Blues' season there is no disguising that, once again, they have leaked too many goals.

Only bottom clubs Crewe (83) and Brighton (65) along with Luton (also 65) have conceded more goals than Ipswich this season, but the Hatters also knocked in 64 goals compared to the Blues' 50. Former Scotland international defender Donachie has vowed to make defensive improvements his priority during the close season.

Most Read

Ipswich have already taken measures to be tighter this season by recalling centre-half Aidan Collins from his loan spell at Stockport County and he goes straight into the squad to face Derby County tomorrow.

Collins, 19, has already been told his contract with Ipswich Town will not be renewed but has impressed in his three games for the Hatters and was previously on loan at promotion-chasing Wycombe.

Donachie admitted: “The amount of goals we have conceded has always been a problem and has concerned me every season.

“It is part of the philosophy of the club to concentrate on playing football and attacking. Defending has never been a priority here and that has always worried me but sometimes you have to go along with the philosophy of the club.

“You can't go to Spurs and expect them to play like Wimbledon. Ipswich has traditions, which I can't change but I would like to add defensive strengths and a more resolute attitude as well as playing football. It has been difficult and my aim next year is to develop a much more resolute defensive attitude.

“It was not highlighted as much last year because of the amount of goals we score but I have never been happy about the amount of goals we let in.

“All the best teams are the ones that allow the least goals in. The winners of the Premier League will concede the least amount, it is the same in the Championship and all the other leagues.”

Royle has made getting in an experienced, but not too old, centre back a priority and is also on the look-out for a naturally defence-minded midfielder.

Donachie said: “The problem stems from both personnel and the way the team is set up. Last year we were built on scoring goals but ultimately you have to be set up defensively.

“The mentality here has always been Ipswich are a good footballing team and are less bothered with the basics of the game which are vital.”

It is a fact of footballing life that the next game could be the last game for every player, coach or manager and Donanchie is not fazed by the threat of not getting a new contract.

He said: “Every game is important. Every season is important. I don't care if it is the last year of a contract or the first year.

“All the players and all the coaching staff try and win every game and if you don't then you won't be successful and you take the consequences.”

Although Town have lost their last four games, Donachie is upbeat about next season when he expects they will be stronger all round.

He said: “The game is about good players. We are in transition with a lot of good players and lately we have come against big strong, experienced teams with grown men so physically it has been men against boys.”

Skipper Jim Magilton will play against Derby tomorrow in what is likely to be his farewell game, while Ian Westlake could earn a place on the bench after coming back from injury quicker than expected but Alan Lee is ruled out with a hamstring pull.

Donachie said: “It would be nice to have a good performance and Jim will contribute to that.”

TWO Spanish defenders will spend a week on trial with Ipswich Town, as from Monday.

Jose Manuel Corrasco. 18, and 19-year-old Daniel Orazco Alvares from Fuengirola los Boliches are part of the highly-rated defence of a side which is second in Spain Division D'Honor.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter