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Kuqi: I don't care

PUBLISHED: 17:01 30 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:49 02 March 2010

IPSWICH striker Shefki Kuqi today told Sheffield United fans lying in wait for him: “You are wasting your time.”

The Finland international - and former Sheffield Wednesday favourite - knows what to expect this evening at a packed Bramall Lane.

IPSWICH striker Shefki Kuqi today told Sheffield United fans lying in wait for him: “You are wasting your time.”

The Finland international - and former Sheffield Wednesday favourite - knows what to expect this evening at a packed Bramall Lane.

Kuqi, 27, laughed: “I think they will give me a big welcome, but I am used to it by now and it doesn't bother me one bit.

“I played in a Sheffield derby there and they booed me at Portman Road earlier this season. Even at Rotherham a few weeks ago I was getting it from their crowd.

“Away from football, I didn't come across it too much when I played for Wednesday. I was living in Manchester and was very rarely out and about in the city.

“They can shout what they want at me but it won't put me off. I will try to shut them up in the best way, by scoring a goal and helping Ipswich to win the game.”

Kuqi may have to settle for a place on the bench after 17-year-old Dean Bowditch replaced him in the starting line-up against Nottingham Forest last week and netted Town's goal in a 2-1 defeat.

The 11-goal marksman is not keen to dwell on the disappointment of being withdrawn just 35 minutes into the previous week's game at Gillingham.

He said: “No player would like that but I am not looking back. I didn't think it was the right decision at the time and I still don't, but I want to look forward.

“I have been doing my best in training and the manager will decide who plays. I want to be a part of what is happening at the club.

“We have put ourselves in with a great chance. We must first make the play-offs and that means not losing at Sheffield.”

Kuqi explained his desire to play in the Premiership after turning down temporary moves to both Wolves and Premiership in January last year.

He said: “I decided not to move on loan. I had been in England four years and I felt they should know what type of player I was, so if they wanted me why not just sign me?

“You like to think you are always making the right decision, but as it worked out I might have got to the Premiership with either club.

“So when Ipswich came for me later in the year I said yes. I came here because I knew the club had the potential to be in the Premiership and now we are close we don't want to miss our opportunity.

“You look around you here, at the facilities, and you think Premiership. There are not many better in the entire country. All the players want it, for themselves and the fans.”

While it is a must-not-lose game for Ipswich, anything less than victory will put paid to the Blades' own play-off hopes.

United are expecting a capacity crowd, despite the fact that the game is being broadcast live on Sky Sports 2, and Town have sold 1,700 tickets.

A further 600 have been returned to Bramall Lane and will be available on the turnstiles to away supporters.

Ipswich are buoyed by the likely return of midfielder Tommy Miller, while Chris Bart-Williams is also back in contention after starting just one of the last 17 games due to a persistent back problem.

United, who have won just three of their last nine games, are likely to be unchanged. But ex-Bradford defender Simon Francis is available after concussion.

The Blades have waited longer than any other First Division team - 42 games - to record a 0-0 draw and next in line are Town, who last featured in a goalless 90 minutes 21 games ago.

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