Darren seeks revenge

IF in-form Darren Currie inspires Ipswich to victory tomorrow, Watford will only have themselves to blame.Because the Hornets broke his heart when they showed him the door at the tender age of 12 - ending, temporarily, his hopes of soccer stardom.

By Mel Henderson

IF in-form Darren Currie inspires Ipswich to victory tomorrow, Watford will only have themselves to blame.

Because the Hornets broke his heart when they showed him the door at the tender age of 12 - ending, temporarily, his hopes of soccer stardom.

Their decision sent Currie on a roundabout route to the top via trials with Chelsea, a YTS place with West Ham and then spells with Shrewsbury, Leyton Orient, Plymouth, Barnet, Wycombe and Brighton.

It was only when Town boss Joe Royle paid £250,000 to the Seagulls in December last year, by which time he had turned 30, that he really felt he had arrived as a player.

Currie said: “I was brought up in the Watford area and their scout saw me playing schools and Sunday morning football.

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“They invited me to Vicarage Road with about half a dozen of my mates. But I was eventually shown the door and it was hard at the time.”

The silky-skilled Currie has netted in each of Ipswich's last two home games to take his season's tally to three.

On each occasion he has been backed by his own personal fan club - wife Emma and baby daughter Bella - and he would love to make it three in a row tomorrow.

He laughed: “I'll definitely be dragging them along for the Watford game. They are my lucky mascots.

“Bella is ten weeks old, so all she does at the moment is eat and sleep. But it means the world to me that she is up there in the stand with her mum.

“She has only been to two games and I've scored a goal each time. Maybe it's just a coincidence but I think it gives me a lift knowing she's in the crowd.”

Currie is generally satisfied with his form this season and is well on his way to achieving the ten-goal tally he has set himself.

He added: “It is well within my capability to score more goals and I am working particularly hard on that aspect of my game.

“I want to be affecting games. If I'm not scoring myself, as a creative player I should be carving out chances for others.

“Tuesday was disappointing - you don't like having to settle for a point when you've been two goals in front - but apart from Sheffield United and Reading the league is still quite open.

“Any team finding a bit of consistency and putting together a good run of eight to ten games would soon see themselves in a very good position - and we aim to be that team.”

But Town's task is hardly helped by the absence of crocked pair Owen Garvan (ankle) and Kevin Horlock (ribs), both sidelined after being forced out of the 2-2 home draw with Coventry.

With Ian Westlake not scheduled to return to full training until the last day of the month, Royle made several calls in a vain effort to bring in loan reinforcements.

He said: “I was trying for the same players I have tried for before and the result was the same - I don't want to say any more than that.”

Royle confirmed that Jimmy Juan and Matt Richards, who formed a central midfield double act in midweek, are “right in the frame” for tomorrow.

Opponents Watford are without a win in six league games and in that time have taken just three points from a possible 18, four fewer than Ipswich in the same period.

Recent form is in sharp contrast to that in the opening few weeks of the season, when the Hornets put an opening-day home defeat by Preston behind them to go on a seven-game unbeaten run that reaped 17 points.

They have slipped from third to seventh in the Championship table and victory for Ipswich tomorrow will see them leapfrog Adrian Boothroyd's team, who are currently two points better off.

Boothroyd took charge in March and has managed just nine wins from 23 games since leaving Leeds to succeed Ray Lewington.

According to their new boss, Watford are in transition. He said: “We're going to play poorly at times and we're going to lose games, but from the moment I came here we've been working to a long-term plan.”

Boothroyd, whose team have banked 12 points on their travels and just eight at home, added: “It will be tougher for Ipswich than it will be for us because we're developing into a good team.

“At the start of the season everyone was saying how good we were and I said we had a lot of learning to do. We're not there yet - but we're getting there.”

Former trainee Ashley Young, 20, is the Hornets' leading scorer this season with eight goals, three of them coming in the last four games and the latest, an 86th minute equaliser, earning a point at Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

SQUADS

IPSWICH: Price, Sito, De Vos, Naylor, McEveley, Wilnis, Magilton, Currie, Juan, Richards, Forster, Proudlock, Parkin, Bowditch, McDonald and Supple.

WATFORD: Foster, Doyley, Carlisle, Mackay, Chambers, Devlin, Mahon, Spring, Young, King, Henderson, DeMerit, Bangura, McNamee, Grant, Stewart and Chamberlain.

Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens).

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