Gaardsoe eyes Baggies debut

WEST Bromwich Albion new boy Thomas Gaardsoe said today that he still has not given up hope of a Baggies debut in Saturday's Nationwide Division One opener at neighbouring Walsall.

By Dave Allard

WEST Bromwich Albion new boy Thomas Gaardsoe said today that he still has not given up hope of a Baggies debut in Saturday's Nationwide Division One opener at neighbouring Walsall.

The 23-year-old Danish central defender, signed from Ipswich in a £500,000 deal last week, sustained a foot injury in Town's opening pre-season friendly win at Southend United.

Gaardsoe said: "Only half a first pre-season game is all the match action I've had, but I've not completely ruled myself out for the Walsall game. We'll see how it goes this week in training."

The former Aalborg man has happy memories of Walsall's Bescot Stadium.

On the opening day of last season, with Town, he was at the heart of the defence as the Blues won 2-0 against Colin Lee's side.

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Gaardsoe got down to training for the first time today at the Albion training ground.

The player, whose transfer went through last Thursday after two days of negotiations, continued: "It has hurt me to leave Ipswich. I was so happy at the club, but now I have to move on as they say."

Gaardsoe has had a hectic weekend saying goodbye to team-mates and friends in Suffolk.

Last night he travelled from his Ipswich home to a west Midlands hotel in preparations to start training with his new team-mates today.

He said: "I've spoken to some of the Ipswich lads individually, but have not been with them all together since I signed for Albion. Before long I hope to be able to go to the Ipswich training ground to see them all and wish them good luck for the season."Albion manager Gary Megson is delighted to have landed his new defender.

He said: "Thomas really came on leaps and bounds at Ipswich last season. Hopefully he can improve his game even further at the Hawthorns. I'm sure he'll settle in quickly with us."