Rivers keen on Town contract

MARK Rivers is determined to convince Joe Royle to hand him a deal by the end of this week, then will set about winning over the Ipswich Town supporters, writes Derek Davis.

MARK Rivers is determined to convince Joe Royle to hand him a deal by the end of this week, then will set about winning over the Ipswich Town supporters, writes Derek Davis.

The 28-year-old former Crewe Alexandra winger was released from his Norwich City contract on Friday and instantly made a beeline down the A140 to Ipswich because he is keen to play for the Blues.

Rivers was even prepared to prove his fitness first rather than insist on a contract, which many players in his situation would do.

He told the EADT: "I can understand why Joe wants to make sure I'm fit as I missed a lot of last season with an ankle injury.

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"Ultimately. if he signs me and I'm injured it doesn't look good, but I have been honest and said I'm fit and Joe has been open with me and said they will take a look at me and if I'm fit he'll sign me."

He tucked 45 minutes under his belt in the 2-1 pre-season win over Peterborough but admits while his injury is a thing of the past he has some way to go before reaching match fitness

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He said: "I enjoyed it, it was good to be back training with the lads and getting half a game as I didn't play much last year."

Once he has convinced Royle, he knows some Town fans will need reassuring, although he feels nothing of the rivalry between his old club and, hopefully, his new one.

He said: "I would love to play for Ipswich and that is it. The rivalry thing doesn't bother me at all. If I do sign I'm an Ipswich player and I'm from Cheshire, not from Norfolk.

"If I play for Ipswich then I will be giving it my all.

"I have nothing against people having rivalries but coming from Crewe I have never really grown up with a big derby mentality. Even games against Stoke and Port Vale for us always was still a good, nice, atmosphere."

The tricky winger believes his ability will get any doubters on his side quickly enough.

He said: "I'm a very attacking player with a bit of pace. I'm quite direct and I like to please the fans and add a bit of excitement to games. First the main aim is to get a contract."

Understandably, Rivers has come in from some banter from the Town players but is ready to take it - for now.

He said: "The lads have been giving me stick about it but it has all been good-natured. They have given me a good welcome.

"They seem a really good bunch and I'm looking forward to the week in Denmark to get to know them even better."

Fitting in with his new team-mates should not be a problem and being on the same pitch as them has whetted his appetite. Rivers will get the opportunity to provide more of the ball to them in games against Randers tomorrow night and AAB Aalborg on Friday.

Rivers said: "Ipswich are a terrific club. I also like what I have seen of the players. They remind me very much of Crewe the way they like to get the ball down and pass it. That is my type of football.

"I have only trained with them the once, on Friday, then played on Saturday but you can see they have a cracking set of players here, with an exceptional group of young players."

Rivers is part of a 20-man squad travelling to Denmark at the crack of dawn this morning. Tommy Miller, who missed the win over the Posh to aid the recovery process after having his jaw broken and reset as part of dental work, is added to the 18 along with Scott Mitchell. Pablo Counago injured a foot in the win but is expected to be fine.

Town squad: Davis, Price, Wilnis, Mitchell, Richards, Barron, De Vos, Naylor, Diallo, Santos, Magilton, Murray, Horlock, Miller, Westlake, Bent, Bowditch, Counago, Kuqi and Rivers.

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