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Price is right for Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 09:36 20 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

LEWIS Price proved he was the right man for the job as Ipswich Town moved to within touching distance of the First Division play-offs.

The 19-year-old came through his first team debut with flying colours as the Blues came from behind to beat weekend hosts Gillingham 2-1.

LEWIS Price proved he was the right man for the job as Ipswich Town moved to within touching distance of the First Division play-offs.

The 19-year-old came through his first team debut with flying colours as the Blues came from behind to beat weekend hosts Gillingham 2-1.

Price was told at noon that he would be replacing the ever-present Kelvin Davis, who had been awake most of the night suffering from a debilitating stomach bug.

And Price played his part as Town won for the sixth time in seven games to move up to fourth in the table - with a win and a draw in their remaining three games likely to be enough to secure a top six finish.

Saturday's home clash with Nottingham Forest should be a cracker, although Price will be back on the bench.

But Town goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster has every faith in the youngster's ability.

Webster said today: “We know now that Lewis will not let us down if Kelvin is unavailable in the crucial games ahead.

“I don't judge a goalkeeper until he has played 50 first team matches, but Lewis has certainly made a good start.

“He is a listener and a learner and over the last 18 months he has improved dramatically with the help of Kelvin and Andy Marshall.

“He has come in for extra work two or three afternoons a week - and he has needed to.

“In some ways he has been a guinea pig, as we have tested things on him, but he climbed high above the defence on a number of occasions to show how much he has gained from extensive coaching in springing off the ground.

“Matt Elliott expressed his delight at the way Lewis came out to catch and with his sharp mental approach Lewis has shown that he can be excellent cover for Kelvin.”

Davis felt poorly on Friday and he was up most of the night because of a bug, but he was given every chance to recover.

Webster added: “Kelvin went for a walk with physio Dave Williams and it was a joint decision with the manager and coaches at noon to play Lewis.

“Kelvin is normally bright and lively, but he was not his usual self and we sent him home. It was not just his sickness but also he was tired after little sleep.

“He was on the phone to me soon after the final whistle to ask how Lewis had done.”

Price will be on the bench for the 38th time this season when Forest - including former Ipswich goal ace David Johnson - visit Portman Road. And he will have no complaints.

He said: “Kelvin is a quality player and I am happy to be number two for the time being.

“I am chuffed at the way the game went, and knew I had a chance of playing when Kelvin was rated 50-50 in the team hotel overnight.

“The nerves did not kick in until just before the kick-off, but the rest of the team were great.

“I did not have that much to do, but was pleased with my save at Patrick Agymang's feet and with my collection of crosses.

“I love the club and working with Malcolm Webster and Kelvin Davis and am prepared to be patient.”

Jermaine Wright was able to play despite also suffering from a bug, and both he and Davis should be fit to face Forest.

Tommy Miller suffered a hamstring problem, but it is too early to say how serious it is.

Meanwhile, Town hero Martijn Reuser said he wants to quit Ipswich during the close-season because he is frustrated by a lack of regular first team chances.

Reuser still has a year of his current contract to run, but said: Although Ipswich is a great club, I'll be trying to look for something else in the summer.”

“Unfortunately, the manager doesn't see me as a starter,” he added.

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