Price signs new deal

IPSWICH Town goalkeeper Lewis Price today committed his future to the club when he signed a new contract to keep him at Portman Road until 2008.And Price believes Blues fans can play their part in bringing Reading down to earth tonight.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town goalkeeper Lewis Price today committed his future to the club when he signed a new contract to keep him at Portman Road until 2008.

And Price believes Blues fans can play their part in bringing Reading down to earth tonight.

The Royals have lost only once in the Coca-Cola Championship this season - and that was on the opening day of the season.

Price, who will be playing his first home game since becoming a full Wales international, said today: “Fans are entitled to voice their opinions and there have been some after match protests from a very small minority this season.

“But after going four matches unbeaten I think our supporters now realise that we are slowly - but surely - moving forward.

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“I am sure they will be right behind us tonight in a match that will test our credentials. If we can gain three points it will give us all a terrific boost.

“It will be a good test and I am looking forward to it. Reading are a well-disciplined side and they are on a wonderful run.

“They beat us fair and square at their place, but we have players back from injury now and can take comfort from our performance at Coventry on Saturday.

“We deserved three points at the Ricoh Arena, but will take the one.”

Price was not given the number one jersey vacated by Kelvin Davis during the summer when the latter moved to Premiership Sunderland.

Manager Joe Royle indicated that the 21-year-old would have to earn the right to wear number one, but Price confirmed today that he is not concerned.

“I am happy wearing number 34 and to stick with that,” said Price, who can expect to be given the number one jersey next season if he continues to play at the same level that won him full international recognition.

Price's elevation to Wales' senior side was delayed until last Wednesday at Cyprus because of a series of niggling injuries, but the Bournemouth-raised player never had any worries.

He said: “I am still young and happy to be involved with the Welsh senior side. I expected my chance would come, and having my full debut delayed was not a worry. I have to be pleased with the way I played although it would have been much better if we had won.”

Wales' manager John Toshack had praise for Price, but criticism for the rest of his team after a 1-0 friendly defeat.

“The game was not a particu-larly auspicious start for me as the team did not play well, but it gives something to build on with hopefully World Cup games to come for me in the future.

“It was a strange atmosphere with only around 500 fans in the stadium, but the Welsh contingent made their presence felt and did us proud.”

The weather was kind, with Price accompanied on the trip by Gavin Williams, who is on loan at Town for a month from West Ham.

“It was shorts weather and the hotel in Limassol was first class,” added Price. “My father Barry and brother Adrian flew over and did some sightseeing before watching the game.”

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