Bittersweet return for Rhodes

ANDY Rhodes' return to Portman Road tomorrow will be tinged with sadness.He is backing his new team Preston to ruin Ipswich Town's start to the season - and at the same time hoping his son Jordan can find the back of the net for the Blues.

Elvin King

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

ANDY Rhodes' return to Portman Road tomorrow will be tinged with sadness.

He is backing his new team Preston to ruin Ipswich Town's start to the season - and at the same time hoping his son Jordan can find the back of the net for the Blues.

Appointed goalkeeping coach of North End on Wednesday, Rhodes' first game will be against his former club Ipswich (kick-off 3pm) on the opening day of the 2008/09 Coca-Cola Championship season.

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Rhodes, who was recommended to his new job by his ex-Blues manager Joe Royle, said today: “I will have mixed emotions, and my return will be tinged with sadness.”

After four years on the Town staff, Rhodes made a surprise departure from Portman Road soon after the end of last season.

His leaving was officially one of mutual consent, but Rhodes added: “It will be a bit of a sad occasion tomorrow - but exciting as well.

“I naturally want a Preston win - and a 2-1 scoreline with my son Jordan netting for Ipswich would be ideal.”

Rhodes senior, 42, is to remain living in the area, and will rent a flat in the north west.

He went on: “I did not have a chance to properly say goodbye so it will be nice to do that tomorrow.

“There are some lovely people at the club and those who work for them on match days.”

Rhodes, who has been replaced by James Hollman as keeper coach at Ipswich, had an opportunity to coach at the academy at Manchester City.

But he said: “It was a good offer from City, but a big part of working in football is Saturday afternoons, and I can carry on with that at Preston.”

Yorkshireman Rhodes played for Doncaster, Barnsley and Oldham and later moved to Scotland where he was in the Dunfermline, St Johnstone and Airdrie teams.

Rhodes was offered a one-year contract by City to work with the nine to 18-year-olds, but the chance to replace Dave Timmins at Preston proved a bigger lure. Timmins has moved to Carlisle.

Preston manager Alan Irvine said: “I've made a lot of enquiries about Andy.

“I know a number of people who have worked with him, particularly people like Joe Royle, Willie Donachie, Charlie Woods - who I worked with at Newcastle - and everyone has spoken very highly about him.

“People have spoken highly about him both as a person, which is really important, and as a goalkeeping coach which is obviously important.”

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