Bywater incentive to keep opponents out

STEPHEN Bywater has every incentive to keep the opposition at bay in Ipswich Town's remaining games of the season.The 26-year-old is playing for a permanent contract at Portman Road.

Elvin King

STEPHEN Bywater has every incentive to keep the opposition at bay in Ipswich Town's remaining games of the season.

The 26-year-old is playing for a permanent contract at Portman Road.

Signed in the January transfer window from Derby County, Bywater is officially on loan only until the end of the campaign.

But he wants to make that full time during the summer.

“I have an option to stay with Ipswich, and I would like to do that,” said Bywater, who has been an ever present since his switch from Pride Park.

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“Derby have signed Roy Carroll on contract until the summer of 2010 so the assumption is that I would go back to them to sit on the bench.

“I and keen to play, and at my age feel I ought to be playing.

“I have a year to go on my Derby contract, but will be doing all I can to impress Ipswich manager Jim Magilton over the remaining matches.”

Bywater and his fiancé are settled in the area and they are getting married in the summer.”

Bywater's number two Nick Colgan was also signed by Ipswich just to the end of the season, while Shane Supple is due back from a so far barren loan spell at Scottish Premier League Falkirk in the summer.

Magilton will no doubt wait until he knows what division his team are in before committing himself on a number one goalkeeper for 2008/09.

Bywater could prove to be the ideal man if Town make the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs.

He was a winner in the play-off final last May when Derby beat West Brom 1-0 at Wembley Stadium.

And he also appeared in the 2004 and 2005 play-offs finals at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff for West Ham, after the Hammers had beaten Joe Royle's Blues in the semi-finals on both occasions.

Bywater came on for the final three minutes - taking over from James Walker - for the 1-0 victory over Preston in 2005 and he played the full 90 minutes when Crystal Palace won a London derby 1-0 the previous year.

“Yeah, I am looking forward to making it a hat-trick of play-offs finals,” said Bywater today.

From the experience he has gained with Derby and West Ham he added: “The play-offs are like starting a new season.

“It pays to go into them with your tails up and on a roll.

“I feel we can do this, and it then becomes a bit of a lottery. It is about winning three games on the trot.

“You have to forget what has gone on for 46 league matches and start again.

“It is a ruthless business and it becomes too exciting to be nervous.”

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