Bruce sets sights on Euro qualifiers

ALEX Bruce feels he has done enough to gain a place in the Republic of Ireland squad for their European qualifiers in August.And if so it would set him up to help make 2007/08 a season when Ipswich Town 'fulfils its ambitions.

By Elvin King

ALEX Bruce feels he has done enough to gain a place in the Republic of Ireland squad for their European qualifiers in August.

And if so it would set him up to help make 2007/08 a season when Ipswich Town 'fulfils its ambitions.'

The 22-year-old central defender made his full international debut against Ecuador during the Republic of Ireland's recent two-match trip to the United States.


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“It was a great honour and capped a decent season for me,” said Bruce as he took a break after swimming with his Blues team mates that began at 8.0am this morning.

“I felt it went well, and hope I have done enough to be called up for the next squad. It has given me a big boost.

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“With all the talk about takeovers at Portman Road and new players coming in there are exciting times ahead for Ipswich Town - and their fans.

“Another cap would certainly set me up for a season when Ipswich Town can fulfil their ambitions.”

Charlie Woods, who assists the management staff at Portman Road and is also involved with the Republic of Ireland at management level, watched the Ecuador game on TV.

“He told me that I did well, which bodes well,” added Bruce, who was joining his team mates running this morning and then moving on for exercises at an army camp this afternoon.

“We have a hard week this week and from Friday have a week to rest the muscles,” said Bruce. “It is all going well.”

Striker Dean Bowditch, 21, has undergone an operation on his long-standing groin problem. He had hoped to avoid surgery after visiting Danish specialist Per Holmich in Copenhagen.

Town physio Matt Byard said: “The surgery went well and we are very optimistic about a good recovery.

“Dean now has two weeks complete rest and then begin his rehab and be back in full activity as soon as possible.”

Town manager Jim Magilton played in last night's practice match - refereed by coach Bryan Klug - against Ridgeons League Woodbridge Town at the Blues training ground.

Sito Castro, who is available to leave, also played in a game Ipswich won 4-0 with Jordan Rhodes scoring twice and Jonathan Walters and Alan Lee netting the opening goals.

Magilton has ruled out any interest in Reading defender Alan Bennett, after speculation he is keeping an eye on the Republic of Ireland international defender.

Ipswich's home Championship match against Coventry on Saturday September 22 has been moved to a 5.20pm kick-off and is being shown live on Sky Sports.

Former Town striker Nicky Forster has joined Brighton on a three-year deal following a £75,000 switch from Hull City.

IPSWICH Town will play their 2006/07 Pontin's Holidays Combination play-off final against Brighton at Portman Road on Wednesday, August 15 (kick-off 7.0pm).

Town won the East Division last season, but the Central Division winners - Brighton - completed their season late and then went on tour so could not fit in the play-off final.

Peterborough United and Grays Athletic have joined the East Division next season, but with Oxford withdrawing and Leyton Orient switching to the Central Division there remains ten teams in the section

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