Lee aiming for the top under new team

IPSWICH striker Alan Lee is aiming for the very top under the new management team at Portman Road.The fit-again Irishman, who could feature against Lazio tonight, is targeting automatic promotion from the Championship to mark the start of a brand new era at the club.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH striker Alan Lee is aiming for the very top under the new management team at Portman Road.

The fit-again Irishman, who could feature against Lazio tonight, is targeting automatic promotion from the Championship to mark the start of a brand new era at the club.

Lee, who underwent close season surgery to repair a double hernia, is aiming for a top six slot.

He said: “I don't see how we can go into the new season wanting to sneak into the play-offs. That's not nearly ambitious enough.

“Automatic promotion has to be our aim. It is a hard task and a good start is critical, but why shouldn't it be possible?”

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Lee, whose 28th birthday is next month, is comfortable with the appointment of Jim Magilton and Bryan Klug to take charge of team affairs following Joe Royle's exit.

He added: “Somehow it didn't feel quite right when Jim was saying his farewells as a player at the end of last season. It seems fitting that Jim, who is an important member of the family here, has taken over as manager.

“He has his own ideas and plans, and we're all really excited by them. Everyone knows about the enthusiasm he brings to the job and you can imagine him kicking every ball from the sidelines.

“From a personal point of view I like a manager who will shout at me. You might need to be riled up during a game and it can get you going. I'm sure Jim will be that type of gaffer.”

Lee played the first half of the reserves' midweek visit to Grays as he stepped up his fitness and would appreciate another run-out against Lazio.

He said: “There was also a behind-closed-doors game the day before we went to Grays so I've got a bit of time under my belt.

“I felt good down at Grays, to be honest, and I hope to be involved against Crystal Palace on the first day of the season, although I know I've got a bit to prove.”

Lee had to put up with a couple of hamstring injuries after his £100,000 move from Cardiff in January, the second of which saw him miss out on Town's final two games of a campaign that reaped four goals from 14 appearances.

Then, rather than celebrate an international recall for the Republic of Ireland's home friendly with Chile, he found himself having to withdraw through injury.

Next stop was the operating theatre in Ipswich, so that when he came back with his colleagues he had some catching up to do.

Lee added: “When the lads were in Holland and Belgium I did a lot of work with Simon Thadani, the fitness coach. We had two or three sessions a day, which was much appreciated.

“What happened over the summer provided me with a lot of answers as to why I had the problems I had here last season. It wasn't just the hamstring injuries - I also had stomach problems and pain in the pelvic area.

“When I came back for pre-season I'd lost a lot of strength. I was lagging behind, whereas I'm normally straight back into the swing of things.

“But I'm catching up now and it would be great to feature against Lazio. That would be a big step in the right direction.”

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