Grant knows he's a lucky boy

GRANT Leadbitter, arguably Ipswich Town's most influential player, was within a whisker of missing next Saturday's home game against Derby County.

Carl Marston

Ipswich soccer, Leadbitter story

By Carl Marston

GRANT Leadbitter, arguably Ipswich Town's most influential player, was within a whisker of missing next Saturday's home game against Derby County.

Basement dwellers Town can hardly do without their midfield talisman, following a rotten run of no wins in 14 games.

But Leadbitter came so close to being ruled out of the Rams clash, when committing a late foul during Saturday's 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Plymouth Argyle.

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The ex-Sunderland man is already on four bookings, so a fifth yellow card would have resulted in an automatic one-match suspension. Fortunately, referee Simon Hooper resisted the temptation to reach for his pocket.

Leadbitter is therefore available for this weekend, when Town will try to chalk up their first win of the campaign.

Certainly, no one feels the pain of Town's plight more than Leadbitter.

“I'm really gutted. We should have won our last five or six matches, and yet we haven't won any of them,” rued Leadbitter.

“We're all pulling in the right direction, but we desperately need to win a game. We keep asking ourselves when it's going to come.

“The second half (at Plymouth) was a good performance, but we have got to learn not to concede silly goals.”

Since his arrival from Sunderland, central midfielder Leadbitter has, more often than not, been a contender for man-of-the-mach each weekend.

But that's of no consolation to the quietly spoken 23-year-old.

And he admits that he cannot help but cast his eye back over past games, and wondering what might have been. To date, Town have recorded eight draws and six defeats.

“I look back at previous games, although I know that's not a very good thing,” confessed Leadbitter.

“We are moving forward, I can feel that. We are a lot better than when I first came. We have to stay strong, and I know we will come through it.

“We are playing well and I have a good feeling that we will turn it around. I can't wait for the Derby game,” concluded Leadbitter.

Youngsters Liam Trotter and Jack Colback, both big prospects but both lacking in experience, have taken turns to partner Leadbitter in central midfield in recent games, so to have lost Leadbitter for such a vital match on Saturday would have been a massive blow.

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