Will it be Matt's last home game?
MATT Holland will only leave Ipswich Town in the summer if the club agree to sell him and it is the right move for him, writes Derek Davis.The Blues skipper, who rejected a move to Aston Villa last season, admits today could be his, and a couple of other players', last home game for Ipswich Town but says he will leave with a heavy heart if he has to go.
MATT Holland will only leave Ipswich Town in the summer if the club agree to sell him and it is the right move for him, writes Derek Davis.
The Blues skipper, who rejected a move to Aston Villa last season, admits today could be his, and a couple of other players', last home game for Ipswich Town but says he will leave with a heavy heart if he has to go.
As one of the top wage earners at Portman Road, Holland knows the club will have little choice but to try to offload him unless a major cash injection is found elsewhere.
Loyal Holland, who has been voted Player of the Year by supporters, last night told me: "This may well turn out to be my last home game but it is not because I want to leave or anything like that. Everyone knows the club's financial situation and we know they will be looking to get players off the wage bill and as I'm one of the highest earners I'm sure they will be open to offers for me.
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"But everyone also knows how I feel about this club and I will not leave just for the sake of leaving.
"Of course I want to play in the Premiership but I have always said I want to do it with Ipswich and I'm sure we will get back there.
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"If the club does get an offer it wants to accept that still doesn't mean I will go. It will still have to be right for me and the family.
"There is probably more pressure on me and other players to leave if there is an offer because of the financial situation than there was last year but it still has to be right. I love this place and I love the supporters so I would be very sad to go."
Holland will be presented with the supporters' Player of the Year award on the pitch at 2.35pm today but international duty means he will miss the official awards night tomorrow night.
Holland was also joint runner-up in the Players' Player of the Year along with Jim Magilton, with 18-goal Spaniard Pablo Counago the winner.
Holland said: "It is a great feeling to have won it for the second time. So many players could easily have won it – Pablo has scored a lot of goals, Jim Magilton has been fabulous in midfield and they didn't even get in the top three so that shows the sort of competition there has been. I'm really thrilled and thank the supporters."
With at least one sale inevitable, today could be the last home game for a couple of Ipswich Town stars.
It is almost certainly Jim Magilton's last appearance at Portman Road in a Town shirt. 'Magic' Magilton's contract expires in July and although he will be offered a new deal, I understand he will move back to the north-west for family reasons and find a club up there.
The popular Irishman has had an outstanding season for Town, looking back to the sort of top form he showed when he first arrived from Sheffield Wednesday and took into the promotion year and then into the first year of the Premiership, before having a disappointing campaign last year when injuries and personal problems deeply affected his form.
Richard Naylor will also be offered a new deal and the attacker-turned-defender is keen to stay. Alun Armstrong was yesterday handed a free transfer and the club will see what offers come in for him during the summer. Martijn Reuser is still officially on the free transfer list and his form of late may prompt fresh interest.
Young Dutch midfielder Nabil Abidallah has gone on trial with Swiss relegation strugglers FC Thun with a view to a permanent move.
Blues boss Joe Royle has included Chelmsford schoolboy Aidan Collins, who is just 16 years and 190 days old, in today's squad after he was inducted into the Town Academy last night.
He will be joined by Matt Bloomfield whose performances in the reserves of late have impressed.
Naylor misses the game with a knee injury and Tommy Miller has been ruled out with a calf injury. Teenage striker Darren Bent is in the squad after recovering well from a hamstring tear.
Wimbledon hope to have Norwegian international Trond Andersen back after an ankle injury but Damien Francis is ruled out. Adam Nowland is suspended and former Suffolk schoolteacher Stuart Murdoch has turned to some teenage prospects.
Ipswich Town: Marshall, Wilnis, Richards, Wright, Makin, Gaardsoe, Magilton, Holland, Counago, M Bent, Reuser, D Bent, Pullen, Bowditch, Collins and Bloomfield.
Wimbledon: Davis, Tapp, Leigertwood, Chorley, Hawkins, Agyemang, Gier, Gray, Reo-Coker, Shipperley, Connolly, Kamara, Gore, Herzig, Andersen and Lewington.
Referee: Mark Warren (Walsall).