Town's forgotten man vows to fight back

PIM Balkestein feels like the forgotten man at Portman Road,

Carl Marston

PIM Balkestein feels like the forgotten man at Portman Road,

However, Ipswich Town's Dutch centre-half is taking inspiration from fellow defender David Wright, who has recently cemented his place back in the starting line-up.

Balkestein has only made one appearance over the last two months, and that was the fateful 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Newcastle United.

The 22-year-old was not even in the 18-man squad for last Saturday's 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Plymouth, but he at least enjoyed a full 90 minutes action for the Reserves in yesterday afternoon's 1-1 draw against Norwich City in the second string East Anglian derby.

Balkestein, along with the out-of-favour Owen Garvan, were the only two outfield players with first team league experience in Town's side for this Combination fixture.

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“Every footballer has his ups and downs, all over the world, and I'm no different,” explained Balkestein, after yesterday's Portman Road clash.

“You have to fight hard to get back into the team, I know this. It's frustrating not being in the team at the moment.

“But I take inspiration from someone like David Wright. He was out of the squad for a long spell, but is now back in the side and doing well.

“All I can do is train hard, keep up my fitness with these sort of games (for the Reserves), and wait for my chance to play for the first team again,” added Balkestein.

A �100,000 purchase from Dutch side SC Heerenveen, during the summer of 2008, Balkestein made 23 senior appearances last term, and a further six appearances in August. But, with the exception of that awful outing against Newcastle, he has been either on the bench or out of the squad altogether for the last two months.

He had mixed fortunes yesterday, suffering a wrist injury as well as missing a good late chance to score against Norwich.

“I'm off to have a scan on my wrist, but I don't think it's serious,” revealed Balkestein, who picked up the injury while block-tackling Owain Tudor-Jones.

“Their lad (Tudor-Jones) stood on my wrist, so it hurts a bit. And then I should have scored as well (with a close-range header). I'm annoyed to miss that one.

“I've played seven games this season, which isn't too bad, but I didn't play well against Newcastle. I have to keep my head down and impress the manager,” concluded Balkestein.

Town substitute Ronan Murray netted an 82nd minute equaliser to cancel out a first-half opener from Canaries striker Cody McDonald, in yesterday's 1-1 draw.

Roy Keane's men will be hoping to record their first win of the season, at the 15th attempt, when they entertain Derby County on Saturday.

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