On-song Thomas ready for cup tie
THOMAS Gaardsoe is ready for the blood and thunder of a raw FA Cup tie at Sheffield United and is convinced Ipswich's quality will win out.The Danish defender makes his FA Cup debut at Bramall Lane today determined to carry on with the form that made him the TXU/Ipswich Town Player of the Month for December, as voted for by East Anglian Daily Times readers.
THOMAS Gaardsoe is ready for the blood and thunder of a raw FA Cup tie at Sheffield United and is convinced Ipswich's quality will win out.
The Danish defender makes his FA Cup debut at Bramall Lane today determined to carry on with the form that made him the TXU/Ipswich Town Player of the Month for December, as voted for by East Anglian Daily Times readers.
He said: “This is a very important game for both teams and we are both enjoying a good run at the moment. I would love to do well in the FA Cup and I feel we have a chance at Sheffield. We have more quality and ability and we should go there and win.
“We have more bite up front than we did in the first game and we have more pace up front than they have now, especially if they use big Wayne Allison up front.
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“He is a big target man and we at the back are going to have to deal with him.”
Town were held to a goal-less draw in the league game earlier in the season but Gaardsoe believes Ipswich are even better now and will be able to make it count where it matters.
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He said: “They are strong physically and mentally at the back so we will have to test them and make life difficult.
“They have a good midfield but I believe we have more quality in ours so if we continue the way we have been we will be fine.”
The 23-year-old has been the lynchpin in Town's defence ever since manager Joe Royle gave him the responsibility of marshalling matters from the centre of a three-man back line.
He said: “I consider that central defensive role as my own and I'm very comfortable playing there but I know I have to perform well every week because there are players pushing for places. John McGreal is not far away from coming back and we have others who are competing. But if I can carry on doing as well as I have then I should keep my spot.”
But he also appreciates having good players around him.
He added: “It is good to have Matt Holland and Chris Makin either side of me. They are very experienced footballers and although you would not have considered them centre-backs a while ago they are both really good in that position.
“They both tackle well, they are strong and competitive and have everything it takes to be a centre-back.
“They have experience in the game and they are good enough footballers to be able to adapt.”
A regular in the Danish Under-21 side while at Aab Aalborg and his early days at Portman Road, Gaardsoe's name is being floated as a possible full international.
He said: “I have been mentioned for the national side a lot recently but even though Denmark is a small country we have a lot of very good players and you have to be playing at your best, consistently, for quite a while before you even have a chance.
“You don't have to be playing in the Premiership to get noticed but it would help and most of our national players are playing in the top leagues. It would be nice to be considered but I don't really think about it. I'm just focused on playing well and keeping my place at Ipswich.”
Gaardsoe was outstanding in December and responded to a half-time challenge at Fratton Park by Joe Royle to win more headers in the opponents' box by nodding in from a corner against Portsmouth.
He followed that up with another headed goal at Leicester and his third came against Walsall at Portman Road to take his tally for the season to four, the other being a clever chip against Brighton in the Worthington Cup.
Gaardsoe said: “December was a good month for the whole team and I was fortunate to score three goals. It was a really important month for us. We held the leaders Portsmouth and might have beaten them and we beat Leicester at their place and they are second so it was a big boost for everyone.”
The Blues took 11 points in December and have continued their good run to go within two points of the top six.
EADT readers voted overwhelmingly for Gaardsoe as their player of the month and he picked up his bottle of bubbly and memento at the training ground on Thursday.