Price wants regular place

LEWIS Price admits he is flattered by the interest shown by Premiership club Wigan but has no intention of leaving Ipswich.The Blues keeper recently signed a three-year deal and is also concerned that leaving regular first-team football could jeopardise his chances of becoming the Wales No.

By Derek Davis

LEWIS Price admits he is flattered by the interest shown by Premiership club Wigan but has no intention of leaving Ipswich.

The Blues keeper recently signed a three-year deal and is also concerned that leaving regular first-team football could jeopardise his chances of becoming the Wales No. 1.

Price, who was named the Powergen/EADT Player of the Month for November, last night vowed to keep his mind on helping Ipswich.

He said: “Ipswich are the type of club where you are going to get a lot of scouts coming to watch because of the players that are being brought through now and those that have gone on to do well in the Premiership

“It is nice to know about interest from Premiership clubs but I'm not taking anything for granted or thinking about moving to Wigan or anything like that.

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“I'm concentrating on my job here and trying to do my best for Ipswich and help them move back up the table.”

“I was happy to sign a new contract. I love the club I'm settled into the area and bought a new house so I'm happy here.”

A latecomer to the Blues Academy after spells at Fulham and Southampton, Price has made great progress but admits at 21 he is still a rookie in keeper terms and playing regularly is important for experience and keeping his international place.

Price said: “Every time I go out training is more learning for me but the main thing is playing and getting experience and that is what I am doing here. Playing regularly is the main aim.

“If I went to a Premiership club now as a No. 2 it would probably hurt my chances of playing for Wales because I would be like all the other keepers sitting on the bench for their clubs and that is no good for me.

“I want to be play for Wales and being involved in tournaments and carry on learning by getting those games under my belt.”

After a couple of false starts and injuries, Price finally made his full Wales debut last month in Cyprus.

He said: “The thing with Wales is that playing week-in and week-out has helped me enormously to make my debut. With Danny (Coyne) out injured and Jonah (Paul Jones) hardly playing at all it has helped me.

“Now I am in there it is up to me to stamp my authority and try and claim the No. 1 spot. But I still have a way to go, so we will have to see.

“Even to take part in the qualifying stages is amazing for me and to actually qualify would be a dream come true. All players want to play in a European Championship or a World Cup and I'm no different.”

Price saved a penalty on his debut during a man-of-the-match performance that left Wales boss John Toshack purring about him.

The keeper returned to put in a couple of star performances for his club, especially in Cardiff, and finished with a higher average rating than any other Town player in November.

Price said: “It was a good month for me. I made my Wales debut and luckily for me things carried on from there. I have been happy with my consistency but there is a long way left of the season so I would like to keep that up.

“But I would rather we win 3-0 and keep a clean sheet with me not having much to do.”

Price has had to overcome initial concerns about him stepping into Kelvin Davis' boots, after Davis had been voted the top Championship keeper by his peers. But he did not take long to convince Joe Royle he could handle the jump in level. Price also knows that any slip in standard will see him edged out by another top goalkeeping prospect in Shane Supple.

Price said: “If the manager had wanted to bring in someone else who was more experienced I would have understood. I am still young for a keeper and this is my first full season. If you want to push for promotion you would normally need an experienced keeper but hopefully I have done well enough to give the manager something to think about and I can stay in the team.

“Shane is a great keeper and still young but he is always there pushing me, which I like because I don't want to be stuck in a groove.

“I know full well that the gaffer will play him and when he has come in he has done very well so it is competitive.”

Price will look to shine again at Hillsborough tomorrow against a side who are struggling to score.

He said: “Wednesday look strong when I see them on television and are a better team than their position would suggest.

“It will be fabulous to go to such a stadium with a rich history and hopefully play well and get those three points and a clean sheet.”

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