Price unsure over reception

LEWIS Price today returns to Wales for the first time since winning his first cap for his adopted country and is not sure what sort of reception he will get from the Cardiff natives.

By Derek Davis

LEWIS Price today returns to Wales for the first time since winning his first cap for his adopted country and is not sure what sort of reception he will get from the Cardiff natives.

The 21-year-old finally made his international debut in Wales' disappointing defeat in Cyprus with the Blues keeper by far the Dragons' top performer.

Although born in Bournemouth, Price qualifies for Wales through his dad Barrie's parents, who hail from the Rhondda Valley, and goes to the nation's capital as the Ipswich and Wales No. 1 but with some trepidation.

Price said: “I'm not too sure if the Cardiff fans will cheer me or boo me but it would be brilliant if I got cheers from both sets of supporters.

“One of the Welsh lads told me when he went there with Coventry he got slaughtered - but then he is originally from Swansea anyway so that was probably fair enough in Cardiff.”

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Whatever the reception, Price is hoping Town can pick up their first away win in two months tonight but is under no illusion as to how hard it will be against a side that have drawn three and won one of their last four home league matches, and have a striker who can rival Darren Bent in his goal-getting.

He said: “Cardiff were doing well and the manager has brought in a few players and they have gelled very quickly.

“Cameron Jerome has had a fantastic season. He has pace, is tall and strong - very similar to Darren. So he will be a threat. Ninian Park is one of those old grounds where the fans are close to the pitch and can be quite hostile so it will be interesting for the younger players although the older players are used to it.

“It would be good to pick up an away win and hopefully we can quick on from there but I would happily take a point.”

Price has found himself in a unique situation where he is personally doing very well and establishing himself as top dog for club and country, while Ipswich and Wales are going through a, sometimes uncomfortable, transitional period

He said: “It is quite strange but if I was playing that well then we would be winning.

“The rest of the lads are not playing that badly but unfortunately things are not quite working out.

“Just as we get so far then we seem to get hit by injury and we have been unlucky.

“As for Wales, I would rather us play as we did in Cyprus in a friendly than in a qualifying match. We are still at the building stage with Wales, as we are at Ipswich.

“We will learn from games like that and work on the training ground to put things right for the next game.

“There are similarities with Ipswich and Wales. They are both trying to build youthful squads and like Joe Royle here, John Toshack is not afraid to use them.”

The Blues have been so impressed with the way Price has stepped up to become Kelvin Davis' replacement that he has recently been handed a new contract, keeping him at Portman Road until the summer of 2008 and while he is the undisputed number one he is in no rush to swap shirt numbers.

He said: “No. 34 has been good to me so I'm quite happy with that.”

“I had no hesitation in signing the new deal. I love the club, I'm settled here and playing regularly. All the time I'm playing here then I have the opportunity to compete for the number one shirt for Wales.”

Despite a finger injury originally picked up while training with the national squad flaring up again, Price will play tonight, with the more than capable understudy Shane Supple on the bench.

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