Garvan: We have to get tougher

OWEN Garvan today expressed his delight at signing a new Ipswich Town contract that ties him to Portman Road until the summer of 2011.

Elvin King

OWEN Garvan today expressed his delight at signing a new Ipswich Town contract that ties him to Portman Road until the summer of 2011.

But he said that to achieve his goal of playing in the Premier League by then the Blues must toughen up.

The 20-year-old, who has been joined by striker Pablo Counago in signing a new three-year deal, said: “I think the Coca-Cola Championship will be a tougher league than last year.

“There is more money going into the Championship because of the rewards on offer in going up to the Premier League.

“Clubs will have bigger squads, and we have a bigger squad now. But we are known to be a little bit soft, to be a little easy going.

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“To get anywhere this campaign we have got to stand up for ourselves and show that we mean business.

“I cannot wait for Saturday and to get started. It will be an exceptional feat to main the high standards we had at home last season. But if we improve our away record there is no doubt we can finish in the top six.”

Garvan has stalled on the offer of a new extended three-year contract that has been on the table for several months, but he confirmed that there was never any doubt that he would sign it.

“It was not getting me down, but all the same I am pleased to get it sorted,” he added. “I knew I was here to next summer on my old contract so there was no rush and there were a few things to make sure were right.

“But it is a relief that it is now out of the way and I am delighted to have signed.“

Last summer Garvan made an unscheduled trip back to his native Ireland, but he says that is all behind him now.

“This is where I want to be and it is all good,” he added. “I have read reports of Premier League clubs being interested in me, but I have heard nothing.

“I am looking forward to concentrating on playing football and this club is geared up to reach the Premier League.

“Last night's 5-3 scoreline shows that we still have some way to go but we matched West Ham in the first half and our fitness levels are good.”

After agreeing his new deal, Counago said: “I am pleased to have signed a new deal that keeps me at the club until 2011. This is where I want to be and where I want to play my football.”

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