Win will 'send out a messge'

WITH or without him, Kevin Horlock believes a Blues win today will send a chilling message out to the rest of the Championship-contenders. The triple-promotion winning midfielder is not expecting to break back into a winning side today against his old club West Ham but three points will ensure Town start 2005 where they left off last year - top of the table and surging towards the Premiership.

By Derek Davis

WITH or without him, Kevin Horlock believes a Blues win today will send a chilling message out to the rest of the Championship-contenders.

The triple-promotion winning midfielder is not expecting to break back into a winning side today against his old club West Ham but three points will ensure Town start 2005 where they left off last year - top of the table and surging towards the Premiership.

Horlock said: “It is a big test against West Ham and if we beat them that sends out a message to the rest of the division that we really do mean business, because they were one of the fancied teams.


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“The Plymouth game is another difficult one but again if we come out of that with maximum points we can look back over the Christmas period and say it was a job well done.”

The 32-year-old has accepted he may not be in the starting line-up. Suspension kept him out of the win over Wigan, he was recalled for the defeat at Millwall but lost his place again in the victory at home against Stoke.

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Horlock conceded: “Reaching five bookings has proved costly to me as I'm missing out on games but the lads were terrific against Wigan. I went and watched with my kids and I would have paid to buy a ticket because they were brilliant.

“The lads got another good result on Tuesday so I'm not expecting to start. Then again. the manager has made changes in the past so we will have to see.

“I was surprised to get back in the side for the Millwall game and I was desperate to try and do well and stay in the team but it wasn't to be.

“It was not a bad performance, especially first-half, but it is the result that counts.

“The manager changed it again for the Stoke match and I found myself on the sidelines but I will be patient. There will be injuries or suspensions so I'm sure I will be playing again.”

There is still a chance Horlock will be brought back today against the Hammers but, if not, it is almost certain he will line-up against Plymouth on Monday.

But this is the game he would desperately like to be involved in after leaving the Upton Park club for the second time, when the contract that still had two years remaining on it was torn up by mutual consent.

Horlock said: “I would have loved to be involved in this game but I have no complaints.

“I have been in the game a long time now and I realise it is a squad game and, while we all want to play as many games as possible, if the team is playing well and picking up points it is hard to get back in.

“I was over what happened at West Ham straight away but you always like to play against your old club in front of your new crowd. where they are all backing you to do well. and you want to do something a little bit special.

“To get the chance to come and join Joe and Willie at a good club like Ipswich, who I knew would be up there, was an easy decision to make.”

The Hammers have not fared so well this year without Horlock and are currently outside the play-off zone in seventh spot.

Horlock said: “They are suffering from the same problem as when I was there last year and that is inconsistency. They are still regarded as a big scalp and teams raise themselves just that little bit more when they play them.

“On their day, though, they have shown they are capable of beating the best and we will have to be on our guard as they have a number of quality players.”

After winning promotion with Swindon and Manchester City (twice), Horlock will be keen to help send out a warning to the rest of the division that he is ready to do it again with Ipswich.

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