Naylor put Town's cause before himself

RICHARD Naylor put Ipswich Town's cause before his own welfare when he made six successive Blues starts from mid-February to mid-March.The 31-year-old central defender, who is Town's longest-serving player, is to undergo an operation on his neck early next month.

Elvin King

RICHARD Naylor put Ipswich Town's cause before his own welfare when he made six successive Blues starts from mid-February to mid-March.

The 31-year-old central defender, who is Town's longest-serving player, is to undergo an operation on his neck early next month.

He suffered a slipped disc in his neck last autumn, and this was still giving him some discomfort during his time back in the Town side.

Naylor hopes to be fully fit in time for the start of pre-season training - and looking for an injury-free 2008/09.

Town manager Jim Magilton said: “Richard was fit when he came back into the side, but as it turns out he was always one whack away from aggravating his injury.”

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Naylor's showed considerable courage to soldier on as the discomfort increased with virtually every game until he did take a blow on his neck in the early stages against Barnsley on March 11.

Naylor saw out the game, but has not played since and his experience will be missed if Town reach the play-offs.

He was named man of the match and scored a goal in Ipswich's Wembley victory over Barnsley in the 2000 final that took the Blues into the Premiership.

“The last 15 months have proved frustrating,” said Naylor. “It was no one's fault, but a toe injury did not get really sorted until last summer, and just when I was approaching a return getting the neck problem was a hammer blow.

“That's football though, you can't get too down about it.”

Ipswich Town players are still doing well in the Actim Index, the official player ratings system of the Coca-Cola Championship.

Sito Castro posted 40 points - topping the charts for the day - as he helped Town claim a 2-1 win at Scunthorpe last Saturday, scoring his first goal in English football in the process.

Sito, who also won two tackles, made two clearances and one interception and produced two blocks, 12 passes and two crosses at Glanford Park, climbed 70 places to 353rd in the Index with 120 points

Town have seven players in the top 100 with Jonathan Walters (537) third, Alan Lee (494) 12th and Jason De Vos (457) 26th while David Norris (412), David Wright (393), Pablo Counago (388) and Owen Garvan (359) in 52nd, 65th, 72nd and 93rd respectively.

The Actim Index is calculated using a unique mathematical formula that rates each player's contribution be it goals, shots, passes, dribbles, tackles, crosses, saves, clearances, blocks, interceptions, assists, clean sheets, time on the pitch or number of points gained by the team with marks deducted for red and yellow cards.

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