Pablo gets chance to impress

PABLO Counago has a chance to make his point tonight. He plays for Ipswich Town against Watford at Portman Road (kick-off 7pm) in a FA Premier Reserve League fixture with a lot to prove to manager Joe Royle.

PABLO Counago has a chance to make his point tonight. He plays for Ipswich Town against Watford at Portman Road (kick-off 7pm) in a FA Premier Reserve League fixture with a lot to prove to manager Joe Royle.

The Spanish striker has vowed to score enough goals this season to help send Town back into the Premiership.

But the 25-year-old has yet to start a first team game, and has been publicly criticised by Royle.

The Town boss said that the former Spanish Under-21 international had returned to training after the summer break out of condition and that he needed to step up a gear.


You may also want to watch:


For his part Counago, believed to be on around £17,000 a week and the Blues biggest wage earner, has confirmed his allegiance to the Portman Road club where he was leading scorer two years ago.

“I want to stay with Ipswich,” he said. “I enjoy being at the club, and I know that my only chance of staying when my contract ends in the summer is if Ipswich are back in the Premiership.

Most Read

“This is my aim.” Counago drew good reports from reserve team manager Steve McCall for his efforts in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea reserves at Aldershot last Tuesday.

And Royle said today: “Pablo needs a game and he is set to play for 90 minutes tonight. He will be one of the players I will be watching closely tonight.”

There is no doubt that a fired up Counago can do a power of good to the Ipswich cause, and if he again shows the enthusiasm he displayed at Aldershot any rift with Royle can be overcome.

However well he does tonight Counago is unlikely to dislodge Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi in Sunday's team for the home Coca-Cola Championship match against Millwall.

The front-running pair have impressed in recent games and Bent carried on his knack of scoring late goals for the England Under-21 side with a goal in Austria last Friday.

Bent is with Town team-mate Ian Westlake with the England party preparing for the Under-21 international in Poland tomorrow night.

Royle has been heartened by the Town board's decision to turn down a £3million bid from Charlton for Bent, and their condemnation of reports that Dean Bowditch might be heading for Liverpool.

The manager, who had his squad back in training this afternoon after a long weekend break, said: “There is a price on every player's head, whoever he plays for.

“But we have said since the summer that there will be no more bargain sales out of Portman Road.

The Premiership transfer window opens again in January and results between now and then will answer everything for us.”

Royle has been linked with a bid for Wigan's Alan Mahon, who had a successful loan spell at Ipswich last season.

“We are getting our finances back in shape, but if Alan's price was £200,000 instead of £2million at the moment we still could not afford him,” added Royle.

Bent was not the only Town player who found the net at the weekend. Central defender Jason De Vos scored Canada's goal as they drew 1-1 with Honduras in Edmonton on Saturday.

De Vos nodded in Iain Hume's free-kick in the 82nd minute of a world cup qualifier. Honduras hit back six minutes later through an Amado Gulevara penalty.

Former Town defender Frank Yallop coaches the Canadians, who play Costa Rica away on Wednesday. They lost their previous qualifier 2-0 against Guatemala.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter