Only three points will do for Pim

PIM Balkestein rates tomorrow's home fixture against Coventry City as a "must win game."

by Carl Marston

PIM Balkestein rates tomorrow's home fixture against Coventry City as a "must win game."

The Ipswich Town defender, who returned to the starting line-up at Leicester City on Sunday, after more than a three-month absence, believes that only a victory will be acceptable.

"If we want to get something out of the league this season, then we need a win," insisted Balkestein.

"Rather than just looking at the table, we tend to think about the last 14 games, and the fact that we have only lost one of these.

"At the start of the season we were learning to work with each other, under a new manager, but I think we're more of a team now. I think we can get up the table quickly.

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"This is a really tight division. In fact, it's a must-win game if we want to get something out of this season," added Balkestein.

Balkestein enjoyed his recent six-week loan spell at League One club Brentford. He was a regular in the Bees back-line, and was grateful for the chance to play a run of games.

But the Dutchman is not planning another loan stint elsewhere. He wants to cement a place in Roy Keane's squad and then perhaps earn a new contract. The old one expires this summer, although Town have the option of extending the current deal for another year.

"I had a great time at Brentford. There was less pressure on me, than here at Ipswich," continued Balkestein.

"Brentford is 10 times smaller as a club, than Ipswich. Pressure tends to be less in the lower divisions.

"I managed to play eight games, and we had some really tough games against the likes of Charlton, Leeds, Colchester and MK Dons. We tended to do well in these games.

"League One is a bit quicker than the Championship, with more long balls, but as a defender its good to learn from this.

"It's a little more physical, but that's not to under-estimate the Championship. The move was good for a young boy like me. It's given me a lot of confidence.

"However, I hope that I am not in the same situation, of having to go out on loan," added Balkestein.

His Town team-mate Tommy Smith is currently on loan at Brentford, with Balkestein having recommended the Bees to his fellow defender.

Gouda-born Balkestein was a surprise member of Keane's starting line-up at Leicester.

The 22-year-old operated as a left-back during the 1-1 draw, to good effect, although there is no guarantee that he will retain his place against Coventry.

"It surprised me that I was back in the team straight away. It was unbelievable to be playing in a Sky TV game," continued Balkestein.

"It was a great shout from the manager for me to go on loan. He saw that I had progressed, and the fact that I had played so many games for Brentford helped me for the Leicester game.

"Otherwise, it would have been difficult to get back if I'd only had one or two games for the Reserves."

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