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Stephen Henderson aiming for better at Ipswich Town second time around

PUBLISHED: 11:23 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 11:23 21 February 2013

Stephen Henderson

Stephen Henderson

Archant

Blues stopper Stephen Henderson admitted his first loan spell at Portman Road ended on a sour note and is determined to play his part in Town’s Championship survival mission.

In a frank assessment, the West Ham stopper – whose first spell was cut short by injury – insists his own performances were below standard before an abrupt end saw him return to Upton Park.

And, with Town still in a spot of trouble at the bottom – three points off the relegation zone – Henderson, who rejoined Ipswich at the 11th hour after a permanent switch to Blackburn Rovers fell through, feels a chunk of responsibility for the Blues’ current plight.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper experienced a mixed time during his first stint at the club, and was in goal as the Blues lost 5-0 at Crystal Palace and 6-0 at Leicester.

“I always said I wanted to come back, as I did not want to leave on a sour note,” said Henderson, who is expected to keep his place for this weekend’s trip to free-falling Huddersfield.

“Before I left I wasn’t up to scratch and I wanted to return so I could prove that I am a good goalkeeper.

“I have two years left on my contact at West Ham, and obviously they are my parent club, but I want to help us get out of the predicament we are in, especially as I am part of the reason why we are here.”

Ironically, Henderson’s first start in his second spell back at Ipswich was at Blackburn, the 24-year-old replacing Scott Loach, who sprained a thumb in training.

Had his move to Ewood Park gone through, the former Portsmouth goalkeeper would have instead been lining up against his current team-mates.

“There was a lot going on, on deadline day, and I was very close to joining Blackburn,” revealed Henderson.

“I believe it would have been a permanent move, the clubs agreed a deal, but it got very messy.

“It was a long day, but it was always the plan to come back to Ipswich and Blackburn was just a spanner thrown in the works.”

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An own goal from keeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s ultimately proved costly for Ipswich Town in an entertaining 3-2 defeat at Championship table-toppers Leeds United this afternoon.

In this week’s nostalgia, we take a look at when Ipswich beat Leeds United 4-2 at Portman Road in the first Premier League fixture between the two sides back on October 3, 1992.

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Ipswich Town supporter Mike Dove has written an open letter to fellow Blues fans on Twitter after last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Bolton was played in front of the lowest league crowd at Portman Road in 19 years. Here it is, plus some reaction.

Ipswich Town take on Leeds United, at Elland Road, in a top-six Championship match tomorrow afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the match.

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