Holland can't wait for Ipswich return

MATT Holland can't wait to return to Portman Road for Saturday's Richard Naylor testimonial.And he admitted today that he does not rule out a permanent return to Ipswich Town one day.

By Elvin King

MATT Holland can't wait to return to Portman Road for Saturday's Richard Naylor testimonial.

And he admitted today that he does not rule out a permanent return to Ipswich Town one day.

“It still feels like home to me,” said Holland. “I had six amazing years at the club.

“I would love to come back in some capacity and will always have a great affinity to Ipswich Town.”

Holland has not played at Portman Road since moving to Charlton Athletic in June 2003 for £750,000 and the 32-year-old is relishing the chance to meet up with many of his former team- mates.

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“Beating Barnsley at Wembley Stadium in the 2000 Division One play-off final is one of the two big highlights in my playing career,” added Holland.

“The other is playing for the Republic of Ireland in the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan.”

Holland has a number of options when he playing days are over. He is taking his UEFA B coaching badge and plans to be fully qualified to become a coach.

He has become involved in media work and was a big hit working for BBC radio during this summer's World Cup finals.

“I have a couple of options and will see what comes up, but hopefully I still have a few playing years left,” Holland said.

“We have a number of ex-Ipswich players at Charlton and quite often I make up a Tractor Boys five-a-side team with Darren Bent, Darren Ambrose, Hermann Hreidarsson and Marcus Bent.”

Holland has nothing but praise for Naylor, a player he admires and respects.

“Hopefully Richard will get the crowd he deserves on Saturday. It will be a great day and one to which we are all looking forward.

“Richard is a great guy and a good friend. He always gives 100 per cent and is someone you would like beside you in the trenches. He is a winner and has scored important goals playing both as a defender and a striker.

“Richard has been a terrific servant to Ipswich Town and has never grumbled through a number of ups and downs.

“It is a credit to him that he has battled back through a series of knee problems and I am sure he has got a big part to play in the future of Ipswich Town.”

Holland, who still lives on the Suffolk/Essex border, has no doubts that Jim Magilton will be a success in the Portman Road hot seat.

“Having played with him and shared a changing room with him, I know that Jim will do a fantastic job,” added Holland.

“Jim also made a wise move in bringing in Simon Walton from Charlton on loan. The 18-year-old is a very good player and is going to make the grade.”

Holland made a total of 314 appearances for Ipswich and scored 46 goals.

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