Naylor's case for the defence
THE three points gained at Bradford will mean little if Ipswich cannot repeat the result at home to Burnley tomorrow.Clarets' boss Stan Ternent was at Valley Parade to watch Town claim victory, although they had to endure an unnecessary nail-biting finale.
By Derek Davis
THE three points gained at Bradford will mean little if Ipswich cannot repeat the result at home to Burnley tomorrow.
Clarets' boss Stan Ternent was at Valley Parade to watch Town claim victory, although they had to endure an unnecessary nail-biting finale.
Blues defender Richard Naylor, who was at the heart of the defence which kept its first clean sheet in 15 league games stretching back six months, believes Town are better equipped to deal with scrapping for points in Division One than they were this time last season.
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He said: "It is important that we follow this win up with another win at home. We go into the Burnley game with a lot of confidence. We have won six out of seven games and we have got a clean sheet so we want to take that on."
Alan Mahon gave Town a first half lead but a series of missed chances and a penalty save by the inspired City keeper Marlon Beresford conspired to thwart Town's attempts for a higher scoreline.
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In the end Town clung on, but even with six minutes of time added on the Bantams could not punch a way through the resolute defence.
Naylor admitted the Blues have found a new resolve and added: "We may have crumbled before, but it is difficult to know. A year ago we might have scored more goals but either way this shows we are getting better."
When Pablo Counago missed a penalty and Beresford had pulled off a superb double save the Bantams had their tails up, and the home crowd were further roused by the referee's refusal to allow skipper David Wetherall back on the pitch until blood was cleaned from his face. But Town stayed calm in the cauldron and the relentless pressure.
Naylor said: "You can't expect to dominate games for 90 minutes, especially away from home so it was a test of our mettle, togetherness and team spirit
"It shows the heart when people are prepared to put their body on the line just as Fabian did towards the end with that tackle.
"We defended well, especially the last 20 minutes. When we missed a penalty they raised their game and started putting a lot of balls in the box. It is good when you come away from home and your keeper doesn't have a save to make."
With three goals under his belt, Naylor has been showing the strikers how it is done, but is delighted to have kept a clean sheet at long last.
He said: "Just as strikers are judged on scoring goals so defenders are judged on clean sheets, so it was nice to get one at long last.
"We have got our first. So let us hope we can go on and get our second against Burnley on Tuesday."
Naylor's central defensive partner Georges Santos played with a groin strain but you would not have known it and will miss training this morning for treatment but is expected to line up at Portman Road tomorrow night.