Noel Hunt still pinching himself after dream debut goal

Noel Hunt shields the ball from Andre Bikey at Charlton

Noel Hunt shields the ball from Andre Bikey at Charlton

Noel Hunt admits he couldn’t have written the script any better himself.

Just a few days ago the 31-year-old was a cast-out at Leeds United and beginning to doubt his own ability.

Then Ipswich Town came calling on loan deadline day, he trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday, stepped off the bench as an 84th minute sub at Charlton on Saturday lunchtime and scored a dramatic winner deep into stoppage-time.

The 1-0 victory, played out in front of a television audience, lifts Mick McCarthy’s men to second in the Championship table and within a point of leaders Derby.

“You couldn’t write it,” said Hunt, a smile still fixed permanently to his face a full hour after the final whistle.

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“Everything has happened so fast for me this week. It’s a dream come true – I’m just delighted to be here. I think I’m the most grateful person in the world right now.”

Having been well out of the picture during his year-and-a-half at Elland Road, the Irishman – reunited with his older brother and former Reading team-mate Stephen at Portman Road – said: “‘Challenging’ is one word to describe my last year or so.

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“A lot of nonsense gets said about you and it can start to get to you. You have to be mentally strong. You do doubt yourself at times, but luckily I’ve got good people around me; my wife, my brother, my parents.”

He added: “I’ve always fancied coming to Ipswich. My brother has kept telling me how good the team spirit is here and how all the boys work for each other. That gets you places in this league – I know that only too well because a few years ago at Reading we didn’t have the best team in the division, but we won the league on pure graft.

“I’m here for a month, obviously I’d love to stay longer – absolutely love to – but that will be up to the higher powers. I’ll be working my backside off to get offered something in January.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match comment and more reation.

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