Upson hopes to show Town fans

MATTHEW Upson has a chance tonight to show Ipswich Town fans what they missed.

Elvin King


MATTHEW Upson has a chance tonight to show Ipswich Town fans what they missed.

The 29-year-old England international was a schoolboy trainee at Portman Road having been brought up just outside Diss.

He is now a valuable member of the West Ham side and is expected to be included in the Premier League club's squad for tonight's friendly at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm).

Upson failed to impress the coaches at Ipswich where he was in the same Monday night group as Kieron Dyer.

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He was 'released' and when coach Terry Westley moved from Ipswich to Luton, he took the son of former Diss Town secretary Dickie Upson to Kenilworth Road.

Upson did well enough to be offered a youth contract by Luton when he was 15 and he matured into a class defender with Arsenal paying £2million for him three years later.

Birmingham paid £1million in January 2003 before West Ham dipped deep into their pockets to spend £6million for his signature in January last year.

Upson, who has eight England caps, will be back at Portman Road, Dyer has received a big setback in his hopes to be playing again soon.

The 29-year-old was hoping to make his comeback - after nearly a year out with a double fracture of his leg - against his former club.

But he has received a setback with talk of a stress fracture. He is still training but had his recovery assessed last week and will continue special rehabilitation for the next six weeks before a period of pre-season style training.

Dean Ashton is earmarked to return tonight after illness and he could well partner Craig Bellamy. Zavon Hines, with four goals in four games, adds to the Hammers' firepower, but young Freddie Sears is unlikely to figure because of a bruised foot and Carlton Cole has an ankle knock.

George McCartley, Matthew Etherington, Luis Boa Morte and Lee Bowyer may also figure with Hammers manager Alan Curbishley looking forward to the game.

He said: “We will have a lot of fans at Portman Road. It should be a terrific atmosphere and I am hoping for a better performance than the 2-2 draw at Southampton last week.

West Ham took 3,000 fans to Southampton and this could to be equalled tonight.

Marek Stech made his full debut in goal and will compete with Robert Green tonight - with ex-Ipswich loanee Mark Noble set for a midfield place.

N (SQUARE) THE Evening Star has arranged a special pre-season interview with Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton. What questions would like to ask the Blues Boss? Let us know by tomorrow lunchtime and they will be put to the manager. E-mail at the Star offices.


FOR the first match report on Town v Hammers, log onto tonight straight after the game