Kuqi ready to take big chance

IPSWICH Town's new "Mr Muscle" is convinced he can clean out defences and lift his new team up the First Division table.Shefki Kuqi made a huge impact in his first match for Town after his three-month loan signing from Sheffield Wednesday.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's new "Mr Muscle" is convinced he can clean out defences and lift his new team up the First Division table.

Shefki Kuqi made a huge impact in his first match for Town after his three-month loan signing from Sheffield Wednesday.

He scored within seven minutes of coming on at Vicarage Road as a second-half substitute as the Blues beat Watford 2-1. The strongly-built and highly

athletic Finland international striker promises Town fans there is more to come.

He said: "I want to prove that I can do well in this

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division. With Stockport and then with Sheffield Wednesday it was hard for me as I was with struggling sides.

"Now I am with a club who possess great players and this will give me a lift, help me step up a gear and rise to a new level.

"This will do for starters and it was a wonderful feeling to score as early as I did. But it was more important for Ipswich to win.

"This is my big chance – and I intend to take it with both hands."

Kuqi, who cost the Owls £1million when they signed him from Stockport, is the sort who will charge towards enemy fire.

On Saturday he received a pass from Jim Magilton on the half-way line and made a bolt for the Watford

goalmouth, galloping at speed before shooting just wide.

His strength was typified when he muscled his way into prominence to rise head and shoulders above friend and foe alike to head away a free-kick in one of Watford's rare dangerous moments of the last 40 minutes.

Kuqi is expected to play in a friendly

international for Finland next month as their European Championship games ended with a recent draw in Wales.

He praised his new team-mates: "Pablo Counago and Darren Bent are great players, they turn

opponents and are fine passers of the ball.

"I have played in a 4-3-3 formation before and it gives scope to move from one side of the pitch to the other.

"Our manager said at half-time that we can play better – and when given the nod I thought 'Well here we go then'.

"I have to admit it was a shock when Watford scored soon after the re-start, but after that I was happy with how I fitted into a side that loves to play football."

Kuqi has another chance to show his worth when Town travel to the north east to play Sunderland

tomorrow night.

With a permanent move to Portman Road on the cards for the 26-year-old after an initial three-month loan period, Kuqi could become as a big a hit with Town fans as the man he is likely to face tomorrow – Marcus Stewart.

With six goals under his belt now following his five for Wednesday this campaign, Kuqi goes straight into the Division One scoring charts.

It was Magilton who grabbed a deserved late winner as Ipswich attacked with style after a mediocre first period and played their best football of the season.

After slumping to the bottom, they have now enjoyed a hat-trick of league victories.

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