Practice makes perfect
YOU would understand it if Richard Naylor wanted to play against Derby County more often. In the four games he has been involved in against the Rams he has scored three times.
YOU would understand it if Richard Naylor wanted to play against Derby County more often. In the four games he has been involved in against the Rams he has scored three times, writes Derek Davis.
But the header which set Ipswich on their way to an FA Cup win over George Burley's side was probably the sweetest goal of all.
The former Academy striker – given his debut by Burley when he was Town boss but then told he could go for free and twice loaned out by his old manager – rose to meet a Jim Magilton free kick nine minutes after the break to head in from six yards. Now a sterling centre-half, Naylor revealed how the move had come straight from the practice ground.
He said: "We have worked on it in training and have tried it a couple of times this season and I have nearly scored from it before. But it needed Jim to be on the pitch. I showed myself to Jim to remind him not to deliver the ball until I had started my run and it worked."
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Magilton had only been introduced as a substitute a minute earlier and it was his first touch of the ball.
Naylor added: "Jim showed his class and the ball he played into me was an excellent delivery and some of his passes after that were fantastic."
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It was the Yorkshireman's sixth goal of the season, his 31st for Ipswich, and the 26-year-old has no intention of reverting back to being a forward after Joe Royle converted him to a centre-back. "No, I enjoy it. I don't think of myself as a striker any more. I have not played up front for more than a year now. Not even in training. I just continue to work on practising defending."
The goal capped a great all-round performance by Naylor, who played his part in only Town's sixth clean sheet in all competitions this season, the fifth he has been involved in.
He said: "To score three goals and to keep a clean sheet is terrific and to get such a great result in the FA Cup breeds confidence. I'm not saying it was a vintage performance but we can take that form into the league."