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Ipswich Town winger Bersant Celina ready for physicality of Championship

PUBLISHED: 14:11 10 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:11 10 September 2017

Bersant Celina rifles home a late goal for Ipswich at QPR Picture Pagepix

Bersant Celina rifles home a late goal for Ipswich at QPR Picture Pagepix

Pagepix Ltd

Bersant Celina insists appearances can be deceptive after strengthening his claim for a first-team place at Ipswich Town for the Blues’ home clash with bottom side, Bolton Wanderers, on Saturday.

The Kosovo-born winger who turned 21 on Saturday, scored a superb late consolation for Town in their 2-1 defeat at Queen’s Park Rangers at the weekend, and showed enough in his brief 14-minute cameo to suggest he could be a real find for Mick McCarthy’s team.

Having been hit by illness since his arrival on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City, Celina’s game-time has been limited, his only starts for the club coming in the Carabao Cup, at Luton and Crystal Palace.

He spent last season playing for FC Twente Enschede in the Dutch top-flight and scored five goals in 28 appearances, terrorising defences, despite his slight figure.

His build could be perceived as being at odds with the physical nature of the Championship – an ultra-competitive division that takes no prisoners – but the midfielder says he has all the tools to be a hit in the second tier.

“It’s a lot quicker and more physical than the Eredivisie (Dutch league) and the players are better as well, there are more young players playing over there – it’s different here,” Celina revealed.

“People think I’m not the player to play in a league like this. I am, and I just need to get the dirty part of my game and keep playing well.

“I’m a bit small and skinny, but I am smart and I am technically good and can play football.

“All I have got to do is work hard and try and win the ball.

“When I get the ball, it is not an issue.”

Celina was fielded on the left-wing when he made his bow as a late substitute at Loftus Road, but in comfortable with both feet and scored with a powerful right-foot shot that curled around Alex Smithies in the home goal.

Asked what his best position was, Celina explained: “I am more of an attacking midfielder, playing in behind the striker, but I can play right-wing, left-wing, striker, everywhere.

He added: “We have some good technical players at the club, along with myself, and we can hopefully use that in the next couple of games.”

Winning games of football is the best way to heal a damaged relationship between touchline and terrace, former Blues boss George Burley insists.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has apologised for any offence he caused while celebrating Luke Chambers’ goal at Norwich on Sunday, but has reiterated he did not aim his comments at the Blues fans.

Match highlights from Ipswich Town’s dramatic 1-1 draw with rivals Norwich in the East Anglian derby.

Ipswich Town U23 1

Charlton Athletic U23 2

Shane McLoughlin was on the scoresheet but it wasn’t enough as Ipswich Town’s Under 23’s were beaten 2-1 by Charlton Athletic at Playford Road this afternoon, writes Kieren Standley.

Police have said they are working to identify supporters responsible for criminal damage at Norwich City’s ground ahead of derby clash against Ipswich Town in the East Anglian derby.

Luke Chambers insists Ipswich Town will be fuelled by a desire to finish above rivals Norwich between now and the end of the season.

What an absolute kick in the teeth, writes Karl Fuller in the wake of Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road.

What a shame. Mick McCarthy was only seconds away from having another favourite DVD to add to his collection of perfect away performances. You know the ones – shut up shop for the entire second half, then nick a winner from a set-piece, writes Northstander Terry Hunt,

No amount of counselling can get this increasingly fractured long-term relationship with Mick McCarthy and Ipswich Town back on track now.

As the dust continues to settle following Ipswich Town’s dramatic 1-1 draw at Norwich, sports writer Andy Warren hosts our weekly webchat to discuss all the latest goings on at Portman Road.

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