Westlake's warning to rivals

A DELIGHTED Ian Westlake helped Ipswich Town go eight games unbeaten at home and warned their Championship rivals the best is yet to come, writes Derek Davis.

A DELIGHTED Ian Westlake helped Ipswich Town go eight games unbeaten at home and warned their Championship rivals the best is yet to come, writes Derek Davis.

Proudly wearing his England Under 21 tracksuit last night as he made his way to meet up with his international team-mates, Westlake was buzzing after a wonderful Town performance.

But he cautioned: "That is a warning to other teams of what we can do. On our day we are able do that to any team in this division. When we play well we are capable of so much and can finish right up there."

"We have not played at our best and even against Wolves it wasn't as good as we can be. We know we can play better."

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Even so, the 2-1 win over Wolves, with Darren Bent taking his tally to three in six league games and Tommy Miller netting from the penalty spot for his fourth goal in seven matches, leaves the Blues challenging leaders Wigan.

Westlake said: "To be second in the table when we have not been playing well is not a bad start.

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"The Gaffer said to us he would be pleased if we were second even if we had been playing well, let alone when we are not playing well."

The Blues have won three games in eight days and, while a break will help heal the minor knocks, Westlake would prefer to play again as quickly as possible, especially at Portman Road.

He said: "After two league wins and a cup victory everyone would prefer to have another game in midweek now, so it is a shame we have this break.

"It is brilliant to be unbeaten at home, even in friendlies, so different to last year.

"The atmosphere has been fantastic, the crowd seem even noisier this season. Perhaps it is because I'm used to it now."

Westlake also paid tribute to skipper Jim Magilton who had such a big bearing on the game after returning from a thigh injury a week ago.

He said: "People ask if we miss him or not but look at that performance and you can see how much he has been missed. He controls everything so well and now we have him back, and if we can find consistency, then we will stay high in the table."

He also picked out Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi for their contribution. Bent, the subject of a £3m, rejected bid by Charlton last Thursday, nodded in a deflected first goal, while Kuqi won the penalty.

Westlake said: "The forwards did so much running which allowed the midfield more space and stretched the game which gives us more time.

"If it does get tight then they have so much pace we can put the ball over the top.

"Bent and Kuqi did so much for us up front and Darren was amazing. There was so much talk before the game regarding him going but he just stayed focused and did really well.

"He will claim the goal, although it may have come off the defender."

Royle said: "It was a great game. I thought we were outstanding. We played with excitement and verve.

"We are averaging two goals a game, are second in the league and in the next round of the (Carling) Cup.

"We defended properly – apart from the goal which came from a great delivery – but apart from that for the third game running Kelvin Davis has not had a save to make.

"My biggest concern was that we didn't score the goals we should have done. At times in the first half I thought we were going to score every time we attacked."

Under-fire Wolves boss Dave Jones welcomed the forthcoming two-week break after seeing his injury-hit side pick up just four points from their opening six games.

"We have had to dig in deep and play players, who are learning their trade," he said. "When you have no competition in your football club sometimes when you want to change it you can't and we have not been able to. The break will be a big plus for us."

Jones lamented his side's defending for the first goal – Bent's 28th-minute header – and he had no complaints about the penalty, awarded for a foul on Kuqi by Joleon Lescott.

n BLUES chairman David Sheepshanks last night confirmed there had been no late bids for any Town players by any clubs.

Sheepshanks was delighted with the manner of the victory over Wolves. He said: "It was one of the best displays we have seen for some time and it was marvellous to see the team playing for each other the way they did and the way the marvellous Ipswich supporters got behind their side."

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