George in squad

IPSWICH new boy George O'Callaghan goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's derby clash with Colchester at Portman Road.And the 27-year-old Irishman, who had been on trial with Town since September last year, is determined to make the most of his second chance.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH new boy George O'Callaghan goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's derby clash with Colchester at Portman Road.

And the 27-year-old Irishman, who had been on trial with Town since September last year, is determined to make the most of his second chance.

He joined Port Vale when he was 16 and returned to Cork in 2002 after scoring four times in 34 senior appearances for the Potteries club.

O'Callaghan, who will wear shirt number 21, said: “When I went back to Cork my dream was to one day return to England and the time was right for me to move on and take up a new challenge.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have joined a club like Ipswich and my aim now is to repay the faith that Jim Magilton has shown in me.”

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Town have paid £50,000 and will also play a pre-season game in Ireland that should pack in the fans who idolised O'Callaghan throughout his time back home.

Magilton said: “George will be in the squad tomorrow. I have no problems with his fitness. He has worked very hard with our fitness coach and since day one here he has applied himself and his attitude has been first class.

“He is a scoring midfielder who can play right across the middle four. He is a natural footballer and I am delighted to have him here.

“I'm a firm believer in second chances. He started at Port Vale but it was his desire to succeed, the hunger he showed, that first attracted me to him. We'll see how it goes.

“He is a player who has certainly not looked out of place here. He has fitted in very well and conducted himself in a wonderful manner.

“George has worked tremendously hard. We are delighted to have him and to give him this opportunity, which I am sure he will grab with both hands.”

The lanky Irishman, who is likely to be on the bench tomorrow, grinned as he added: “I agree with everything the manager says.

“I'm a box to box player and I've always had a little knack of scoring goals. The Cork fans are fantastic and were very good to me, and I hope it will be the same here.

“The gaffer has seen something in me and I want to justify his faith in me. I've been capped by Ireland at under-18 and under-20 levels but I'm not even thinking about international football at the moment.

“All I want to do is play well and win a regular place in the Ipswich team. If I do that and play well other things will take care of themselves.”

Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks said: “This must be the most protracted, longest, drawn-out signing that I have ever known and I think George will hold that distinction for many years.

“However, that had little to do with him. He has signed an 18-month contract and if he does well that will be extended in due course.”

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