Tardelli checks out Town's Irish brigade

MARCO Tardelli, an assistant coach to Republic of Ireland head coach Giovanni Trapattoni, was at Loftus Road to cast his eye over Ipswich Town's Irish brigade on Tuesday night.

Carl Marston

MARCO Tardelli, an assistant coach to Republic of Ireland head coach Giovanni Trapattoni, was at Loftus Road to cast his eye over Ipswich Town's Irish brigade on Tuesday night.

Tardelli will no doubt have been impressed by the likes of Jon Walters, Daryl Murphy and Owen Garvan, especially Sunderland loanee Murphy, who slotted home his second goal in as many games for Town.

However, perhaps the name on top of Tardelli's glowing report might have been Damien Delaney.

Town's formidable centre-half produced a man-of-the-match display against his former club QPR. It will certainly have done the 28-year-old's international aspirations no harm at all.

Delaney confirmed: "The international season starts up again in the next few weeks, so if Marco Tardelli was there, then that's great.

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“If I were to get a phone call I'd be delighted.”

Cork-born Delaney, who to date has earned just two full caps, believes that Town are gradually "maturing" as a team.

He has certainly played his part, starting Town's last 17 games, all but the first three of them in partnership with Gareth McAuley in the heart of defence.

"We're definitely maturing as a team and we're definitely getting better," insisted Delaney.

“That probably hasn't happened at the pace we'd like, but we're definitely getting there.

“We seem to be crawling there, but there are signs of improvement.

"It was vital we won (against QPR). Even a draw wouldn't have been great, especially having been two-up and given the way we played in the first half.

“QPR are down there with us now and the table has changed massively, but we've just got to look after our side of things and hopefully we can go and get another three points at Peterborough next Tuesday,"

concluded Delaney.

BRIAN Murphy enjoyed a quiet first outing in an Ipswich Town shirt, during yesterday's appearance for the Reserves at Norwich City.

Town claimed a 1-0 win at Carrow Road in a Combination fixture, thanks to Ed Upson's penalty just before half-time following a foul on Reggie Lambe.

Murphy, recruited from Bohemians, damaged ankle ligaments during the warm-up before Town's 1-1 draw at Leicester City on January 10. He is yet to make a first team appearance.

Devann Yao, signed on transfer deadline day, operated as a left-midfielder and a front-runner during the game, while Shane O'Connor, playing at left-back, came through 90 minutes following his long-term knee injury.

TOWN defender Tommy Smith, who is currently on loan at Brentford, could make his international debut for New Zealand next month, against Mexico on March 3. Smith pledged his allegiance to New Zealand earlier in the season, and has been called up to his country's squad for the friendly fixture which will be staged in Los Angeles.

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