Pablo wants to stay

TOWN'S top scorer Pablo Counago is ready to turn his back on a return to the continent to help Ipswich win promotion next season.The Blues' Players' Player of the Year is being monitored closely by clubs in Spain and Italy but last night told the EADT he had no intention of leaving Portman Road.

TOWN'S top scorer Pablo Counago is ready to turn his back on a return to the continent to help Ipswich win promotion next season.

The Blues' Players' Player of the Year is being monitored closely by clubs in Spain and Italy but last night told the EADT he had no intention of leaving Portman Road.

Every player has a price that the club would be forced to accept even if the Company Voluntary Agreement is accepted by creditors on Friday, and Ipswich Town come out of administration at the end of next month.

But Counago is relishing his English experience and enjoying life in Suffolk so much that he has no desire to continue his career elsewhere, even if it meant returning home.


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In vastly-improved English, Counago said: "I'm very happy here at Ipswich. We came very close to making the play-offs and I feel we will do even better next year and I want to stay here and be part of that.

"We played very well in the second part of the season and we need to continue that and make sure we have a good start to next season. I'm confident that we will be challenging next year and I want to be scoring even more goals for Ipswich."

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The Spaniard picked up by Ipswich on a Bosman-free transfer from Celta Vigo, has banged in 19 goals this season. That sort of form has alerted a number of La Liga and Serie A sides, as well as English clubs.

Counago produced a marvellous piece of skill during Saturday's 5-1 defeat by Wimbledon when he back-heeled to give Matt Richards a clear chance on goal, but although the youngster beat the keeper his shot went wide.

The Spaniard should have had a penalty when brought down from behind by Ben Chorley and was left waiting to notch his 20th goal of the season.

He said: "It was a very disappointing way to finish the season at home and we know now we need to wait until next year before we will return to the Premiership."

The 23-year-old picked up his players' player of the year award before the game after beating off Matt Holland and Jim Magilton into joint second place.

He said: "I want to thank all the people who have supported me this year. It has meant a lot and has been important to me.

"It is great to be recognised by the other players and to win this award is fantastic."

Town gifted the Dons the lead when a mistake by Andy Marshall allowed Neil Shipperley to notch his 20th league goal of the season off his shins. David Connolly weighed in with two goals and youngsters Adam Nowland and Alex Tapp completed the rout to give Wimbledon their first-ever victory over Ipswich at Portman Road.

Darren Bent scored the Town goal after going on for Fabian Wilnis, who is struggling with a knee injury and is a doubt for Sunday's final game of the season at Derby. Blues boss Joe Royle was tempted to give a debut to 19-year-old Matt Bloomfield, while Essex schoolboy Aidan Collins was on the bench for the first time.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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