Relief for Wilnis

AMID the euphoria of victory man-of-the-match Fabian Wilnis trooped off the Portman Road pitch looking dejected, writes Derek Davis.An hour later the relieved Dutchman was smiling after hearing his tenth booking of the season would not mean him missing the play-off final at Cardiff – should Ipswich complete the semi-final win tomorrow.

AMID the euphoria of victory man-of-the-match Fabian Wilnis trooped off the Portman Road pitch looking dejected, writes Derek Davis.

An hour later the relieved Dutchman was smiling after hearing his tenth booking of the season would not mean him missing the play-off final at Cardiff – should Ipswich complete the semi-final win tomorrow.

Wilnis' booking for blocking Mathew Etherington in the 79th minute brought up the 10 but he will not miss any games, although will probably get a letter warning him about his future conduct.

The card count for an automatic ban rises to 15 after the end of March but Wilnis was unaware of that rule.


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He said: "As you could tell I was really upset because I thought I would miss the final but I have since been told that is not the case.

Wilnis has missed just four games this season and was outstanding in a wonderful defensive display on Saturday.

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He effectively stemmed the real threat of left midfielder Etherington, kept David Connolly relatively quiet, and was part of a superb back four which kept Town's ninth clean sheet of the season.

He said: "I felt really good and loved the whole occasion. The crowd has always been brilliant to me and I thank the fans for that. Etherington was the danger man down the left wing for them but I was pleased with how I dealt with him.

"But the whole team was unbelievable and as a back four I felt we did really well. We gave hardly anything away and if we can play like that again on Tuesday we will go to Cardiff."

"We have one foot in the finals now and it is up to us. West Ham will have to come at us and that will suit us. They will leave holes at the back and with Darren Bent's pace that will be good for us."

The Dutch defender relishes the big games and revealed manager Joe Royle was ready to drop anyone who showed too many nerves.

Wilnis said: "Everyone really seemed to enjoy it and it was in stark contrast to the week before against Cardiff City. The manager had told us to stay calm and told us if anyone could not handle it, then fine, he would rest them.

"But everyone was buzzing. As a boy these are the sort of games you want to play in and no-one wants to miss out."

The bargain buy from De Graafschap who recently made his 200th appearance for Ipswich, knows he has at least another two to go for Town. Like so may other his contract expires in the summer and the 33-year-old would love to win another and play Premiership football for the Blues again next season.

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