Mahon fired up for debut

FIRED-UP Irish midfielder Alan Mahon makes his Ipswich Town debut today furiously rejecting the notion that loan players do not have the same passion for a club as a permanent signing.

FIRED-UP Irish midfielder Alan Mahon makes his Ipswich Town debut today furiously rejecting the notion that loan players do not have the same passion for a club as a permanent signing, writes Derek Davis.

On the contrary, Mahon, who was kicking his heels in the reserves at Blackburn after returning from a loan spell at promotion-winning Cardiff City last season, is determined to win a contract at Portman Road.

The 25-year-old, with the No. 25 shirt, said: "It is rubbish for people to say loan players don't care. As a player I have come here to do well. It is my career and if I don't do well at a club then I could be out of work.

"Every player wants to do the best they can, they want to score, they want to set up goals, that is what we do.

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"If you don't do your best you will find yourself working in a factory or somewhere.

"When you go out on loan you have something to play for. Even when I was playing in Blackburn reserves I gave 100%, but when you are in the reserves sometimes your heart might not be quite in it, because you may feel you have been hard done by.

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"Then, if you go to a club that wants you to play for them and you are enjoying your football again then you are going to give that bit more. You want to impress the crowd, the manager, the players around you and show you are worth your place in the team."

The passionate left-sided player, who started his career at Tranmere Rovers, before playing two games for Sporting Lisbon, one in the Champions' League, combines creativity with ball winning.

He also specialises in free-kicks and is not afraid to step up to the penalty spot in the absence of the injured Tommy Miller. Nor is he concerned at the pressure on him to turn Town's abysmal season around.

He said: "It is what I'm paid to do and I will get on with it. All I will concentrate on is being positive, everything I do is about being positive because if you are not then things will not go your way.

"I have no problems about taking penalties, I'm confident enough but that is down to the manager. If it comes about and someone else is desperate to take it then fine – take it."

It will be a tough initiation for Mahon, making his bow against league leaders West Brom but he can't wait.

He said: "I'm not worried about where they are in the table. They are a good side with a decent start and it is going to be difficult but it is 11 v 11 and it will be about who is the best on the day."

Mahon watched the Republic of Ireland earn a 2-2 draw with Turkey on Tuesday and would love to add to his two full international caps.

He said: "To play for your country you have to be playing first-team football and I accept that. I have not been doing that and that is why I'm not getting international recognition.

"You have to be playing and you have to be playing well. That is my concern, playing for Ipswich and doing well, not really thinking about the Republic of Ireland just yet."

But he knows good performances will see the Irish manager Brian Kerr taking a trip to Portman Road.

He said: "Brian Kerr is a good man, a good manager who gets the best out of his players and a fair man and if I'm doing well for Ipswich he will probably come and take a look, but first I want to do well for Ipswich."

It is ironic that Mahon's best pal at Blackburn was Marcus Bent, whose loan move to Leicester City made it possible for him to join Town.

Mahon said: "Marcus and I have had a good laugh about it. Football is a game where you go round in circles, here I am meeting up again with Georges Santos and John McGreal.

"I have a lot of respect for Benty and he gave me a lot of advice about coming here and said a lot of good things about Ipswich."

Two loanees with plenty to prove, and a bellyful of fire to do it.

n Ipswich Town Reserves travel to play Chelsea at Aldershot Town on Monday, kick-off 7 pm. Tickets are on sale for Ipswich Town v Walsall at Portman Road on Tuesday, September 16, kick-off 7.45 pm in the Nationwide League First Division.

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