Naylor becomes a yoga fan

IT is not just straight out on to the training pitch for Ipswich Town players at their Rushmere training ground these days.First of all they concentrate their minds under the guidance of coach Willie Donachie.

By Elvin King

IT is not just straight out on to the training pitch for Ipswich Town players at their Rushmere training ground these days.

First of all they concentrate their minds under the guidance of coach Willie Donachie.

The first team squad are now taking part in yoga sessions, and defender Richard Naylor says they are well worth while.

"We do concentration exercises and are taught to think 'in the moment,'" said Naylor, as he took a break from preparing for tonight's Carling Cup match against Kidderminster at Portman Road.

"The stretching helps as well. It is something Willie has brought in this season and if it improves our game by one per cent it will be worth it.

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"Everything is worth trying, and the lads are all enjoying it."

Naylor, 26, now considers himself an out-and-out defender after spending his first ten years at the club as a striker. He joined the club from school and has scored 25 goals in 81 starts.

Town's longest-serving player explained: "I came to the club as a defender, but was playing up front within weeks almost.

"I was switched back last season and was happy with the way I played. I feel I did enough to merit my place in the side and now see defending as my best position.

"I am enjoying it and have put in a lot of work. There is more to do, and it is a gradual process."

Naylor's career looked in danger three years ago when a long-standing knee problem saw him end up on the operating table.

He still has to guard against any recurrence, and before and after every training session he undergoes special treatment on both knees.

A blow to the side of his left eye during Saturday's match has left Naylor with a cut, but this will not deter him from being available to face Kidderminster.

"The doctor glued it together during and after the game and there was no need for stitches," added Naylor, who expects the Third Division side to provide stiff opposition.

"Coming to Portman Road, and playing on the wonderful pitch will give Kidderminster a lift. They will raise their game and it will be like a cup final for them.

"It was disappointing to draw with Reading on Saturday, but they are one of the better sides in the division, along with ourselves.

"We found it difficult to open them up in the final third of the field and conceded a poor goal. Both sides played well, and there is still plenty of room for optimism."

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