Wright opens his arms

IT may have been the old Ipswich Town players' reunion last night but Richard Wright will be welcoming two keepers to Portman Road today.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

IT may have been the old Ipswich Town players' reunion last night but Richard Wright will be welcoming two keepers to Portman Road today.

First there is Bart Bialkowski who has joined on loan from Southampton where they played together before and then there is Watford's gloveman Scott Loach - a former Ipswich academy keeper.

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Wright said: “I know Bart really well after being with him at Southampton. He is a fantastic keeper and someone who will keep that intensity on me with competition for places as I had with Shane.

Bart is quite a quiet character but on the pitch he is a voice. He is a good guy and someone I enjoyed working with before and will do again.

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It is important for keepers to get on and work well together. You want people with a work ethic and Bart as that, as Shane does in abundance.

“It gives Shane a chance to go out and play games which is a good thing for him.”

Loach moved to Ipswich when he was aged four and was with the Blues academy for three years before joining Lincoln City. After loan spells with Radcliffe Olympic, Spalding, Grantham and Boston Town, he joined Watford in a �50,000 switch from the Imps.

A proposed move to Leeds United fell though and he went out on loan to Stafford Rangers, Morecambe and Bradford City.

His big break at Vicarage Road came when he replaced the injured Mart Poom last September against Reading and was between the sticks when Stuart Atwell gave the goal that never was.

Wright said: “It is great that Scott is getting a chance to play at Watford. I have seen some games of his on TV and he seems a character who has done well for them.

“It is good that he has gone on and done well. Watford have given a chance and they have stuck by him so I'm glad that has happened top a good young English keeper.

“Being part of an academy that is second to none like Ipswich Town is a fantastic grounding.

“I know that and that is why I'm proud to be part of it again.”

Another former youth keeper Wright has been keeping an eye on is James Pullen who is now keeping goal at AFC Wimbledon who are runaway leaders of the Conference South.

Wright said: “James came from Heybridge Swifts and had couple of games in the first team and I'm delighted he is doing so well for AFC Wimbledon.”

Then there is Lewis price whose save in a penalty shoot out while on loan at Luton from Derby sent the hatters to Wembley.

Wright said: “I saw Lewis save a penalty on the telly for Luton and while his celebration was a bit dodgy it gave Shane and me a laugh, it is great he got them to Wembley and again is someone who not content to just sit on a bench but wants to get out there and play.

“I know him a little and he is a good character. It is fantastic he went to Luton who are fighting for their lives on and off the pitch.”

Wright admits he relies on old-fashioned homework when it comes to saving penalties and the nerve of the taker, with few as cool and precise as Mr 100 per cent Tommy Miller.

He said: “I have problems with my I.pod but I look at videos and do my homework. If a keeper makes a save then great so all the pressure is all on the outfield player. Tommy is phenomenal, he just gets up there puts ball and spot and puts them away every time.”

Either could be a match hero against Watford today, after they lost in the 90th minute at Cardiff to a Ross McCormack spot kick but Wright stresses the importance of a win.

He said: “We need to be focused against Watford and the remaining six games.

“We know it will be tough but we need three points and stay positive.”


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