Nash going on loan

GERARD Nash is looking to finally end his injury nightmare and get some first-team football under his belt with a loan spell at Hartlepool United.The 19-year-old Irishman has joined the Pools initially for a month and is expected to make his full league debut against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

By Derek Davis

GERARD Nash is looking to finally end his injury nightmare and get some first-team football under his belt with a loan spell at Hartlepool United.

The 19-year-old Irishman has joined the Pools initially for a month and is expected to make his full league debut against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

Nash said: “It has been a long time coming but I'm really looking forward to some first-team football.

“Hopefully I will play in the Tranmere game and get four or five matches in during the month and go from there.

“I'm really excited by it all. I spoke to Dean McDonald at length about Hartlepool and he told me they like to play football the right way, which suits me because I like to play the ball from the back.”

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Nash, who has managed just one substitute appearance for Ipswich, in the 6-1 win over Burnley in October 2003, did not hesitate when asked on Monday morning if he fancied a stint in League One with Hartlepool.

He said: “It all happened very quickly and was totally unexpected but I didn't have to think twice. It is far better for me to be playing competitive first-team football than in our reserves.

“After all that has happened I can't wait to get playing. It is a new year and a new start for me now.”

Nash knows he will have a friendly face to greet him when he arrives at Victoria Park with former Belvedere Boys star Thomas Butler with United.

He said: “Thomas is a bit older than me but I know him well from Belvedere. We Irish tend to stick together so I'm sure he will help me settle in.”

The Dubliner, who has captained his country at youth level and played at every level up to under-17s, has suffered a horrific catalogue of injuries since first damaging a cruciate ligament while playing as a schoolboy in Ireland. He has had two cruciate operations, a cartilage and a full knee reconstruction.

Nash is looking for a new contract at Ipswich and while his potential has never been doubted, this will be an ideal opportunity to prove his fitness and enable him to gain valuable experience.

Three of his former Academy team-mates have been less fortunate with defensive partner Aidan Collins, Cathal Lordan and Liam Craig all being told they are free to find new clubs.

The trio won FA Youth Cup-winning medals, with Craig skippering the side to success, but have been told they will not be offered new contracts.

A £30,000 payment to Hearts would have been triggered if Craig had been offered a professional contract, although both the club and player insist this was not a factor in the decision not to sign him.

Lordan was a goal-scoring hero in the FA Youth Cup final against Southampton but has not been able to force himself into the first team.

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