ANDY Rhodes last night spoke of his pride at his clutch of goalkeepers, who have enjoyed a particularly successful few days.The Ipswich Town goalkeeping coach was full of praise for Kelvin Davis, Lewis Price and Shane Supple, and warned another exciting prospect was on his way.
ANDY Rhodes last night spoke of his pride at his clutch of goalkeepers, who have enjoyed a particularly successful few days.
The Ipswich Town goalkeeping coach was full of praise for Kelvin Davis, Lewis Price and Shane Supple, and warned another exciting prospect was on his way.
Blues No. 1 Davis was named in the PFA Championship team of the year, the day after becoming a dad for the second time.
His dash back from Yorkshire to wife Kelly's bedside, as she gave birth to son Sonnie, meant he missed the 1-1 draw at Leeds.
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That allowed Lewis Price to make his 10th appearance of the season and saw Shane Supple being whisked north, just hours after a couple of wonder saves had helped Ipswich win the FA Youth Cup.
Super KD, a free signing from cash-strapped Wimbledon almost two years ago, has been outstanding for Ipswich this season, and is one of the main reasons why Town are on the cusp of automatic promotion.
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Rhodes said: "I'm extremely proud of all of them. I don't think there is anyone better than Kelvin in the league. I certainly wouldn't swap him for anyone else.
"Kelvin has a wonderful manner about him. Nothing phases him. Like anyone, he has made a few errors, but the difference is he doesn't let it affect him.
"He is also an excellent kicker of the ball and that has been a great weapon for us.
"His accuracy and delivery makes it a potent attacking option. He has outstanding ability and, if that gets us 12 to 15 points in a season, then that can go a long way to helping us get where we want to be."
Rhodes and Price led the Blues crowd in acclaiming Supple, as he joined them for their warm-up at Elland Road before the Leeds game.
They had not seen the young Dubliner since his heroics against Southampton, when he pulled off a double save which Gordon Strachan described on television as 'the save of the season'.
Supple was driven to the game by Academy director Bryan Klug and was a little late getting to the ground, but was quickly forgiven by Rhodes, who embraced him, while Price was bowing down to the Irishman.
The fans already in the stand behind the goal, where the keepers were warming up, gave him a massive ovation, with many scrambling down to get his autograph.
Rhodes said: "The reception the Ipswich fans gave him was excellent and well deserved. Shane is a terrific young goalkeeper who performed heroics in the final. Yet, he is another who is level-headed and works very, very hard."
As all this was going on, Wales Under-21 keeper Price played his part in the 1-1 draw.
Rhodes is delighted with the way Price has handled everything this season. He said: "Lewis is as steady a rock. He is an ideal keeper to come in when Kelvin is out. He has done very well for us."
As amiable as Rhodes is, he can also be a hard taskmaster, and he soon had the players back down to earth in yesterday afternoon's training.
He said: "It was a very hard session but they were all focused and got on with it in the same way as they usually do. All three keepers are the same in the respect that they are very level headed, keep their feet on the ground and won't be getting carried away with things."
As if Rhodes did not have enough to be grateful for, Town have added to his elite club by signing 16-year-old Icelandic international Oskar Petursson, who will join during the summer.
Rhodes said: "I'm really excited about Oscar coming over. It is a blank canvass to work with, as he has not had a goalkeeping coach before and he has tremendous natural talent."
Iceland Under-17 international Petursson signed a two-year Academy scholarship from his local club Grindavik last month.