Better times are ahead, says McGreal

"WE have reached rock bottom," said key Ipswich Town defender John McGreal."But this is the lowest point. It will get better from here. Everything goes in cycles and I am sure our supporters can look forward to much better times.

By Elvin King

"WE have reached rock bottom," said key Ipswich Town defender John McGreal.

"But this is the lowest point. It will get better from here. Everything goes in cycles and I am sure our supporters can look forward to much better times."

McGreal is in an ideal position to gauge the situation at a Portman Road-based club that sunk to the bottom of the First Division table after Saturday's 4-1 defeat at West Brom.


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He was a valued member of the side that rose so spectacularly to the top – finishing fifth in the Premiership just 30 months ago and qualifying for the UEFA Cup to play mighty Inter Milan.

For the last ten months he has been struck down by injury, and was hoping for good news when seeing a specialist today.

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"I have been training with the first team for the last week," added 31-year-old McGreal. "There is a good tempo and spirits are high.

"If you ask me why the club has struggled over the last two years or so I have no idea. It is sad that we have lost a number of excellent players for financial reasons but we still have the quality to make an impact in the First Division.

"It does not pay to dwell on the past and we now have to look forward. We have gifted other sides a six-game start. There are 40 matches left and plenty to play for and there is no way that we are the worst side in the division.

"One win will take the pressure off although it is proving to be elusive. We need to take the lead and then go forward and build on that, hopefully starting with Walsall tonight.

"There has been nothing in our three home games so far but if we all pull together there will be better times ahead."

The better times for McGreal were highlighted by the play-off final win at Wembley Stadium against Barnsley.

"That topped the lot," said the defender who was used to waving goodbye to Tranmere's best players during his time at Prenton Park.

"Tranmere had no option than to sell, and Ipswich have been in that position for the last 16 months. Scoring at my home-town club Everton was a marvellous feeling for ten seconds or so, but my best football memory remains at Wembley.

"Without a shadow of doubt I will have a part to play this season. It has been very frustrating and I am not making any promises as I have been knocked back so many times in the last few months."

McGreal badly damaged his knee last December at Brighton and he is now suffering from a back problem that has affected his right hamstring.

"I have a definite part to play," said McGreal, who has the experience and skill to help Town move out of their current plight.

Manager Joe Royle said of McGreal: "He has had a problem stretching to reach match fitness, but hopefully he will soon turn that corner."

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