De Vos: No Excuses

DEFENDER Jason De Vos refuses to look for excuses to explain Ipswich's recent indifferent form.The big Canadian, a certain starter at Derby tonight, accepts that he and his colleagues have under-achieved this season.

By Mel Henderson

DEFENDER Jason De Vos refuses to look for excuses to explain Ipswich's recent indifferent form.

The big Canadian, a certain starter at Derby tonight, accepts that he and his colleagues have under-achieved this season.

But he is quick to brush aside the well-worn argument that Town are struggling to cope without the four key players who departed in the summer.

It's not that 31-year-old De Vos doesn't recognise the contribution of 54-goal trio Tommy Miller, Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi, alongside that of goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.

But he said: “A team doesn't comprise four players. It's easy to say we miss these guys but we can't continue to use that as a crutch.

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“We have to accept the responsibility and go out to get the results we all want. Hopefully the penny will drop at some point soon.

“It's not for a lack of effort that we are not playing to the best of our ability. The training is great but for one reason or another it isn't happening on match days.

“Sure, we have had some good results here and there, but it's not flowing like last season. We just have to keep working hard and believing in each other, and then hope we can turn the corner.”

Ironically, De Vos could have been playing for tonight's opponents after then boss George Burley made him an offer to join the Pride Park staff.

But he was sold on signing for Ipswich and insists he had no regrets, even with former club Wigan confounding the critics to sit second in the Premiership.

He added: “I didn't have to leave Wigan and the manager, Paul Jewell, wanted me to stay. It wasn't money that made me decide to leave, either.

“I had no argument with Paul, who was always very fair with me. It was people who were higher up the ladder.

“I have always been a man of my word, but the contract negotiations weren't handled properly. I wasn't treated the way I deserved to be treated.

“My values and principles told me it was the right thing to do to move on, but in no shape or form was it anything to do with Paul. I have a lot of respect for him as a manager and as a person.

“People were predicting Wigan would go down, but to be honest I always felt they could survive in the Premiership.”

Ipswich boss Joe Royle has named a 16-man squad for tonight's game, with the midfield trio of Ian Westlake, Owen Garvan and Kevin Horlock again missing out along with striker Nicky Forster.

It limits Royle's options and he will be relieved that Jimmy Juan, who needed several stitches on the inside of his mouth after a training ground collision with Westlake on Monday, has indicated he will be fit.

Royle said: “Derby are a bit like us in that they have suffered a bit of a hangover after reaching the play-offs last season, but they still have several players who are coveted at this level.

“The other common denominator is that we have both lost players, but at our best the two teams are still top six material.

“Derby lost at home to QPR on Saturday but Colin Suggett, our chief scout, was there and he said they had enough chances to win two games.

“It should be a good game of football between two passing sides. We are going there looking for a clean sheet and a hero, someone to win us the game.”

Derby, who have kept just one clean sheet in the Championship this season, have brought in Brazilian central defender Emerson Thome on loan from Wigan.

He joins other loanees Peter Whittingham (Aston Villa), Stern John (Coventry), Dexter Blackstock (Southampton) and Johnnie Jackson (Tottenham), while Andrew Davies (Middlesbrough) completes a two-game ban.

The Rams, with just one win in their last 12 league and cup outings, have used 30 players so far this season - more than any of their Championship rivals.

SQUADS

DERBY: Poole, Kenna, Edworthy, M Johnson, Thome, Whittingham, Bisgaard, Idiakez, S Johnson, J Jackson, John, Peschisolido, Blackstock, Thirlwell, Nyatanga, Tudgay, Doyle and Camp.

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

Referee: Colin Webster (Shotley Bridge).

Ipswich's longest-serving player, 28-year-old central defender Richard Naylor, has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at Portman Road until 2009.

Canadian teenager Keegan Ayre, currently on trial at Hibs, is also interesting Ipswich, West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday.

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