I'm g-loving it - Fab

VERSATILE Ipswich star Fabian Wilnis today admitted: “I would play in goal if necessary!”The Dutch defender, who has been in outstanding form in Town's opening three games of the season, actually started out as a promising keeper.

By Mel Henderson

VERSATILE Ipswich star Fabian Wilnis today admitted: “I would play in goal if necessary!”

The Dutch defender, who has been in outstanding form in Town's opening three games of the season, actually started out as a promising keeper.

He said: “I started off in goal for my first two years and I still do it in training - when the guys are working on their finishing!


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“When Lewis Price was injured at Leicester last week, for a second or two I was thinking that I should take his place.

“Then I realised we had Shane Supple on the bench and he came on to do a very good job for the team.

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“But if the gaffer was stuck and didn't have a goalkeeper among the substitutes I would be the first to volunteer.”

Wilnis has been a loyal servant, proving to be several players rolled into one for almost seven years since his bargain £200,000 move from De Graafschap.

The happy-go-lucky player spent his day off yesterday on a visit to Legoland at Windsor, with his wife and three daughters for company.

But he was back in training today with Saturday's home clash against Sheffield Wednesday, when he will once again deputise for injured central defender Jason De Vos, firmly in his sights.

Wilnis added: “Things have been going fine so far and I actually find it that bit easier to play in the middle alongside Bamm-Bamm (Richard Naylor).

“You can see the whole picture in front of you that much clearer and you can read the game that bit easier.

“As a full-back your options can be quite limited, but from a central role you can go right or left.

“I am really enjoying it. Bamm-Bamm and I get on well and we swap over at times. I don't mind if I am on the right or the left.

“Also, it is good to give the manager a few other options. He knows I can play in several different positions.

“It is really a whole new experience for me. Before I came to England I had only ever played once or twice as a central defender.”

Wilnis has shown himself to be a capable performer anywhere across the back line and has also occupied the physically more demanding wing-back role in the past.

He will be 35 next Tuesday, when Yeovil are the visitors to Portman Road in a Carling Cup first round tie, and admits to being pleasantly surprised that he is still going strong.

“When you start playing, 35 is a long way off,” said Wilnis, “ and when I read about Mark Fish having to quit at 31 it made me realise how lucky I am.

“But there are others like Teddy Sheringham and Andy Hessenthaler, who is 40 and still playing, and I have nothing but admiration for them.

“I have no idea when I will decide the time is right for me to finish, but the way I feel at the moment that day is hopefully some years away.”

Meanwhile, Ipswich will be without striker Nicky Forster for up to six weeks after an x-ray yesterday revealed he requires an operation on a knee cartilage injury.

Forster, who scored the winner on his Town debut against Cardiff on the opening day of the season, felt the injury after last Saturday's goalless draw at Leicester.

The former Reading striker, signed on a free transfer in the summer, becomes the third Town player to be sidelined by injury so far this season.

Central defender Jason De Vos cracked ribs in the Cardiff game and goalkeeper Lewis Price had to be replaced in the first half at the Walkers Stadium last Saturday after suffering a knee injury that cost him the chance of making his full international debut for Wales in last night's 0-0 draw with Slovenia.

Dean Bowditch, who scored twice for the Reserves in the 2-1 win at home to Portsmouth on Monday night, will partner Sam Parkin up front against Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road on Saturday.

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