Walters wants to keep perfect record

IPSWICH Town skipper Jon Walters does not want to miss a game this season.Town's front-runner is the only ever-present in Roy Keane's starting XI, in the Championship this term, and he was prepared to fight through the pain barrier to play at Plymouth last weekend.

Carl Marston

IPSWICH Town skipper Jon Walters does not want to miss a game this season.

Town's front-runner is the only ever-present in Roy Keane's starting XI, in the Championship this term, and he was prepared to fight through the pain barrier to play at Plymouth last weekend.

In the end, he was given the go-ahead to play at Home Park, after a quick-fire 72-hour recovery from an ankle injury, and he's champing at the bit again today.

Walters is set to start his 15th league game on the bounce against visiting Derby County.

“It was the same ankle that I ruptured last year,” explained Walters, who limped off during stoppage against Watford in the last Town home game.

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“I didn't train until the Saturday morning, but I got it strapped up and it felt OK. I was desperate to play, because I want to get the team out of trouble.

“The strapping was quite restrictive, but it minimised the risk of me turning the ankle again.

“It's the manager and the medical staff who assess the risks, because they know that I'll always want to get out there and play. They have to decide whether it's too risky, whether I might cause the ankle further damage.

“The injury was basically just scar tissue, which had built up around the ankle. I felt it crack, but that was a good thing. It protected the ankle,” added Walters.

The former Hull, Wrexham and Chester front-man, who can also operate down either flank, has been Town's skipper in recent games, following in the footsteps of Alex Bruce and Gareth McAuley.

Bruce looks set for a recall this afternoon, due to McAuley's absence with a thigh injury, but Walters will probably retain the captain's arm-band.

“It doesn't matter whether I'm the skipper or not, I still play the same way,” insisted Walters.

“Sometimes the manager will tell you who's going to be the skipper on the Friday, but other times it's when the manager asks someone to sort the players' tickets out (for family and friends), or you hand the team-sheet to the referee.

“I quite like the responsibility, but it doesn't change the way I play. Some don't like the extra pressure, but I don't mind it.

“In fact, I enjoy it. I think it's flattering to be asked.

“I'll make the same noises and just because you're wearing the armband doesn't mean you're the only leader. We need lots of leaders, on the pitch and in the dressing room,” added Walters.

No Town striker has been firing on all cylinders this season, though Walters currently leads the way on four goals.

He said: “It's nice to be captain, and it's nice to have four goals. But I could have scored several more by now.

“Four is OK, but there are Michael Chopras (11 goals for Cardiff City) out there who have scored far more.

“I'm always keen to do extra hours in training, because I know that as a footballer it's only a short career. I also know that it's the best job in the world.

“Now we just want to get that win, and we want it before our trip to Reading next weekend.”

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