Hermann hopes to erase UEFA Cup memories

HERMANN Hreidarsson is keeping his fingers crossed that he has better luck in the season's UEFA Cup than he did on his last appearance in the competition.

By Elvin King

HERMANN Hreidarsson is keeping his fingers crossed that he has better luck in the season's UEFA Cup than he did on his last appearance in the competition.

The 27-year-old Icelandic-born defender played for his home town club IBV Vestmann against a team from Latvia in the qualifying stages during the 1995/96 campaign.

"In the second leg we were drawing 1-1 away from home – and this would have been enough to put us into the first round," said Hreidarsson. "Then the home team, I cannot remember their name, scored in the very last minute.

"It was heartbreaking. We had finished third in the league the previous season and lost in the Icelandic Cup final."

The big defender left his native western island Icelandic club to move to Crystal Palace soon afterwards, before having spells with Brentford and Wimbledon. He joined Town for a then record £4.5million in August 2000.

Most Read

"It is fabulous to be involved in the UEFA Cup again," added Hreidarsson, who has played at the Moscow national stadium – where tonight's opponents Torpedo Moscow play – before.

That did not work out too well either as he was carried off after 70 minutes in a match where Russia beat Iceland 1-0 in the qualifying rounds of the last European Championship.

"The pitch was fine and we had no problems in Moscow," continued Hreidarsson who says that now is the time for Town to find the spark that made them so successful last season.

"We can play much better than we currently are both individually and collectively. We have to kick-start our season and tonight would be a perfect time to do it.

"We need to keep a clean sheet. We have come really close this season without being able to close teams out.

"We want to rekindle the spark we had last season for 90 minutes each game.

"Our squad is stronger now and there is no reason why we should not enjoy just as much success. Some Premiership sides under-achieved in 2000/01 and it will be tougher to make a mark, but we are capable of doing so."

Hreidarsson has mainly played at left back this season with Town manager George Burley opting for a 4-4-2 formation. He admits that he prefers to play in a central defensive role.

"I like to be in the middle of the action. I like to be in the thick of the fight, attacking through balls with my head and getting involved in tackles.

"But if I am doing a job at left back, and the team is doing well, then I am happy as well."

Hreidarsson relishes the prospect of two big games this week. He went on: "It is great to be involved with Ipswich Town at a time like this.

"To have a trip to Manchester United sandwiched in-between games in the UEFA Cup is what top level football is all about.

"It is good for the players, the club and the fans. Long may it continue. And a good result tonight will set us up not only to make progress in the UEFA Cup but also for the rest of the season."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter