Westlake's admiration for Bolton

IAN Westlake loved every minute of Town's Premiership success and jaunt into Europe but admits to being jealous of what Bolton have achieved, writes Derek Davis.

IAN Westlake loved every minute of Town's Premiership success and jaunt into Europe but admits to being jealous of what Bolton have achieved, writes Derek Davis.

The Clacton-born midfielder was a 15-year-old fan watching that epic play-off game against Wanderers in 2000 in which Jim Magilton starred and helped Town to Wembley and promotion.

The Blues went on to finish an incredible fifth in their first year back and secured a UEFA Cup spot.

But it all went downhill the following season when relegation was followed by administration.

Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce led his Bolton side to the top flight in 2001 and they have stayed there since.

Westlake said: "It was a brilliant game and Jim must have fantastic memories of that night.

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"Because it's Bolton from those games, and they are a Premiership team, the atmosphere in the cup game should be excellent.

"For me it seems incredible that I would be playing Bolton. I never expected them to be an established Premier League team.

"They are over-achieving really but they are beating the likes of Manchester United, drawing with Arsenal, and to think a few years ago they were playing us in the play-offs."

Westlake sees Bolton as the example Town must follow.

He said: "Bolton have done absolutely brilliantly and that is what we at Ipswich need to be trying to emulate. We need to go up and then stay there, like Bolton. We are jealous of what they have done and we want to do what they have done.

"Bolton and Charlton have been superb, they got up, were fairly quiet but have stayed in the Premiership.

"Ipswich had that one brilliant year where we finished fifth and got into Europe but we are back in Division One.

"Any of us would rather have built slowly and done what those clubs have done and been a steady side in the premiership.

"I signed for Town because I want to be here playing for them in the Premiership year after year so I want to help Town do a Bolton or a Charlton."

Dreams of promotion take a back seat for a week as the FA Cup occupies the mind and Westlake dismisses any thoughts that Town see it as an unnecessary distraction where the result doesn't really matter.

He said: "Just because the league is the priority you can't think if we go out it is alright.

"It is not a win-win situation because if we go out we are losers.

"Here at Ipswich we love winning, everyone has a winning mentality, even if it is the card games on the bus, we all want to win and none of us can stand to lose.

"We have got this far in the league because everyone strives to be the best. So a game against Bolton is more important than a game of cards or a computer game. We want to win, especially at home in front of our fans who have been so great for us."

Westlake is under no illusion that this will be a test of their own possible Premiership credentials, although Bolton are just 10 places ahead of them in the pyramid.

He said: "There is still a gap in quality. You just have to look at West Brom, Crystal Palace and Norwich who went up and are all at the bottom whereas Bolton are not in that group.

"We couldn't go up above those three teams last season and they are finding it hard to compete.

"Against Bolton we are going to get a taste of what we will be up against every week if we do go up so it is a good time to measure ourselves against one of the good teams in that league."

And the 20-year-old is an FA Cup romantic brought up on the history and tradition of the world's oldest competition.

That, and the thrill of a good old-fashioned, giant-killing.

"When you are young watching the FA Cup was just the best thing," he continues.

"Everyone wants the big teams to lose. I used to sit there and watch the results and hope that Man Utd or Arsenal, or anyone would go out to a small club.

"Now Bolton are the big club and we are the underdogs but maybe, especially with the great support we have at home, we can use that."

Should Town win then the wide-eyed fan in Westlake comes out when asked who he would like Town to be drawn against in the fourth round.

"Liverpool – away. I would love to run out at Anfield," he said.

If it doesn't happen in Monday lunchtime's draw, then there is always next season on the way to becoming an established Premiership club.

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