Price knows he's come along way

THE visit of Southampton to Portman Road tomorrow will remind Lewis Price of how far he has come in football.The Ipswich goalkeeper started out with the Saints but it was not the launch pad into the big-time that he hoped it would be.

By Mel Henderson

THE visit of Southampton to Portman Road tomorrow will remind Lewis Price of how far he has come in football.

The Ipswich goalkeeper started out with the Saints but it was not the launch pad into the big-time that he hoped it would be.

Instead his stay lasted just one season and left him looking around for new employers.


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Today Price recalled his time there: “It didn't work out for me there. I came in from a non-league club, Wimborne, rather than working my way up through the academy.

“I didn't get on too well with the goalkeeping coach and it was all a bit of a culture shock when I saw the likes of Matt Le Tissier walking around. I moved on to have a trial with Fulham but that didn't work out either because I was a year older than they thought I was and couldn't offer me anything.

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“But Fulham were very helpful. They let other clubs know about me and that's what led to the opportunity to come here”.

Price arrived at Ipswich in 2002, after the club's relegation from the Premiership, and is now looking to help them make the return journey.

He added: “It was so different when I first came here. You can't help but like it. They made me welcome and have looked after me really well.”

It has been an eventful season so far for Price, who started out on the bench but has know replaced teenager Shane Supple as boss Jim Magilton's number one choice.

He said: “I came back for pre-season training earlier than I needed to and it was my aim to be in the team from day one.

“But that didn't happen and I just had to be patient. I was glad to get my chance and now I want to stay in and play many more first team games.”

It was Southampton boss George Burley, during his time in charge at Portman Road, who gave Price the professional contract he wanted. And when he takes his place for tomorrow's game he will find another familiar face lining up against him.

Burley has signed ex-Town number one Kelvin Davis and Price said: “I was on the bench a fair bit when he was in the side here.

“I still get on very well with Kelvin. I went down there to see their game a couple of weeks ago because we had played on the Friday night at QPR.

“I stayed on after the game to have a chat with him and he's enjoying life at the moment.”

Ipswich will definitely be without experience full-back Fabian Wilnis, who is sidelined with a thigh injury.

Wilnis said: “It would need a miracle for me to play and it is a real pain for me to miss this game.

“I did it in training a week ago and the experts tell me that if I played tomorrow I would probably aggravate it and end up missing the next month or two.

“Obviously I don't want to do that. It is far better to miss one game than risk missing maybe as many as eight”.

Town also have a doubt about teenage striker Billy Clarke and should give debuts to recent signings Phil Sylvain Legwinsky and Jon Macken.

Ninth-placed Saints are unbeaten in six games this season, winning one and drawing the other four of their five Championship fixtures and blasting Yeovil 5-2 in the Carling Cup.

Burley's most recent recruit, Spanish midfielder Inigo Idiakez, is set to make his debut after his deadline day move from the manager's former club, Derby.

SQUADS

IPSWICH: Price, De Vos, Bruce, Harding, Williams, Legwinski, Walton, Noble, Macken, Clarke, Naylor, Richards, Currie, Bowditch, Lee, Haynes, Sito and Supple.

SOUTHAMPTON: Davis, Ostlund, Makin, Baird, Pele, Bale, Lallana, Surman, Viafara, Idiakez, Skacel, Rasiak, Wright-Phillips, Jones, Wright, Cranie, Dyer and Miller.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancs).

WHAT do you think of Lewis Price being Town's No.1? Is the competition between him and Shane Supple good for the club? E-mail us with your views starsport@eveningstar.co.uk

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