Shefki looking to reclaim spot

SHEFKI Kuqi is looking to help Ipswich Town reclaim top spot tomorrow against Reading by using his head.Dropped for the past three games, the Finland international came off the bench to underline the Blues' bouncebackability with two goals to see off Plymouth Argyle.

SHEFKI Kuqi is looking to help Ipswich Town reclaim top spot tomorrow against Reading by using his head.

Dropped for the past three games, the Finland international came off the bench to underline the Blues' bouncebackability with two goals to see off Plymouth Argyle.

One of those finishes was a rare headed gem from the big man, and he is looking to crown more games in similar fashion.

After the Pilgrims went ahead through Steve Adams and Stevie Crawford inside 13 minutes, Jason De Vos pulled one back for the Blues.

Fabian Wilnis was sent off with 65 minutes still to play and Town were not playing well.

Kuqi replaced Pablo Counago at half time to turn in an equaliser nine minutes from time and four minutes later headed in a Drissa Diallo cross to complete the turnaround.

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Kuqi said: "I was particularly pleased to score with my head. I used to get a lot of headers but I have only scored one, a goal at Crewe, with my head for Ipswich before this one.

" I would expect to score even more with my head and that is what I'm looking to do."

There is a fair chance that Kuqi will be reinstalled as a starter when Steve Coppell's table-topping Reading visit Portman Road in what is hoped to be a virtual 30,000 sell-out.

The Finn has always been patient when not first choice, but is ready for the call.

He said: "Everybody wants to start games but you just have to do what the manager wants you to do.

"We have four good strikers here and it depends on who is in form who plays. You have to be ready for when your chance comes up."

The free signing from Sheffield Wednesday, who will earn the Owls £150,000 if Town are promoted, didn't need much of a pep talk when introduced at half time.

He said: "The manager just told me to be yourself and be strong. Don't worry if you make a mistake just do what you are good at.

"It was a great three points and two goals for me so I have to be happy with that."

Kuqi admitted Town were stunned by the Pilgrims' start but although things were looking bleak he had no doubt they were capable of turning it around.

He said: "We knew it was going to be a difficult game and what they were capable of. Even so it was a big disappointment to concede the two early goals and then to have Fabian sent off.

"We knew at half time that even being one behind if everyone stepped it up a gear in the second half we could go on and win the game.

"The spirit has always been good here."

Kuqi has played his part in come-backs before now.

He scored on his debut at Watford exactly one year ago and hit the winner to complete the 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace last October.

The brace takes his tally to four in nine appearances this season after also grabbing a pair at Rotherham.

One thing missing on Saturday was the customary swallow dive after the goals, but Kuqi has vowed they will return.

He explained: "We were behind, we needed to concentrate on getting back in front in those last few minutes so that was more important than celebrating."

Town will be without the suspended Fabian Wilnis tomorrow while there doesn't appear to be any fresh injuries and so Royle has a full squad to choose from.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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