Jay's sights set on Premiership
JAY McEveley has the Premiership in his sights.The on-loan Blackburn defender, who is with Ipswich until at least Christmas, has two options.Either he helps Town to establish themselves in the promotion race by then - or he returns to Ewood Park and adds his support to their battle to preserve top-flight status.
By Mel Henderson
JAY McEveley has the Premiership in his sights.
The on-loan Blackburn defender, who is with Ipswich until at least Christmas, has two options.
Either he helps Town to establish themselves in the promotion race by then - or he returns to Ewood Park and adds his support to their battle to preserve top-flight status.
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The 20-year-old, equally comfortable at left-back or in the heart of the defence, admitted he is still keen to make an impact with Rovers.
He said: “Mark Hughes has assured me I'm still part of his plans so my overall aim is still to establish myself at Blackburn.
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“I feel I have unfinished business with the club, but that's not to say I'm not enjoying every second of my time at Ipswich.
“It's a club with a Premiership ground and facilities. I'd be more than happy to stay for the rest of the season.
“Blackburn may choose to take me back. I don't know what the manager's thoughts are but, if that happened, I'd need to speak to him and get some kind of assurance I'd be playing.
“I can't see the point in heading back and spending time watching games in the stands - not when I could be playing another 20-25 matches for Ipswich. I'd go back so much stronger for getting first team games under my belt.”
The Liverpool-born player will make his seventh Town appearance in Sunday's game at Reading, which is being screened live on Sky Sports 1 with a 1.30pm kick-off.
He made his debut in the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United and results in his six games to date have been something of a mixed bag - two wins, one draw and three defeats.
But McEveley is confident his temporary team-mates have turned the corner and maintains a top six slot is a realistic target.
He added: “We've had a couple of wins in recent weeks, which has given us something to build on. We are starting to click and I feel we've got a fighting chance of making the play-offs, at the very least.
“Everyone's talking about the top three in the division which suits us fine. We're quietly going about our business and not really getting mentioned as promotion candidates.
“As long as we're still in a good position at Christmas, we'll have the momentum to push on and sneak into the top six in the second half of the season.”
The terms of McEveley's loan deal mean he could be back north by then. Although it is a season-long loan, Blackburn have the option to recall him in January.
He trained at Ewood Park during the recent enforced break due to World Cup qualifying games, but he is rapidly settling down to life in Suffolk after quitting his hotel and moving into a rented apartment in the town.
“I feel I've been here much longer than a few weeks,” because everyone has been so welcoming. “It's that sort of club - the people are friendly - and it has helped my game.
“There's a lot to play for and I'm really looking forward to several more happy months in this part of the world.”
While McEveley is an almost certain starter at the Madejski Stadium in two days' time, Town boss Joe Royle will not confirm his line-up until at least tomorrow.
Fit-again striker Nicky Forster will definitely be involved, but Royle has an open mind as to whether the ex-Reading player should be in from the start or on the bench.
Trialist Adam Proudlock's fate is in the hands of the club's fitness coach, Simon Thadani, who will be consulted by Royle.
The ex-Wolves striker is technically on loan from the Owls for three months but accepts he has no future at Hillsborough.
Royle said: “You can call it an extended trial, but Adam isn't as fit as he should be and it might be of more benefit to him, rather than being involved at Reading, to stay behind and put in a bit of work on the training ground.”