Red card boost for Georges

GIANT Ipswich defender Georges Santos has received a huge Christmas boost. And the French centre back plans to celebrate against Norwich City at Portman Road in tomorrow's noon showdown, in a game he has been waiting for patiently since he signed for the Blues in the summer.

By Elvin King

GIANT Ipswich defender Georges Santos has received a huge Christmas boost.

And the French centre back plans to celebrate against Norwich City at Portman Road in tomorrow's noon showdown, in a game he has been waiting for patiently since he signed for the Blues in the summer.

"It was the best news I could have received," said Santos after referee Iain Williamson agreed to reverse a decision that saw the Town player shown a second yellow card at Millwall last Saturday.


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Santos will now be available to play for the Blues all over the holiday period, which includes a match at Upton Park against West Ham on Boxing Day (kick-off noon) and at home to Crystal Palace next Sunday (3pm).

"It was a wrong decision, and a bad one," said Santos, who has been in commanding form in recent weeks as Ipswich have raced up the First Division table.

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"All I could do was shrug my shoulders and take my medicine. I was distraught, as I did not want to be forced to sit out any games.

"But full marks to the referee. He has been man enough to look at the video and admit that he made a mistake. A similar incident happened to me last season with Grimsby, but on that occasion the match official refused to change his mind."

Santos must wait and see whether he partners Richard Naylor or John McGreal against the Canaries in tomorrow's eagerly awaited derby.

"I am just happy to be playing with no worries," added Santos. "Every game is important to us, but one where there will be 30,000 fans and a terrific atmosphere is even more vital.

"Since I arrived in Suffolk in the summer, fans have been telling me that we must beat Norwich. The game was almost six months away then – but still such a big part of the season.

Town manager Joe Royle believes Santos' dismissal cost the club two vital points.

He said. "The referee has to be commended for changing his decision. He was wrong in the first place, and I thought we were the team most likely to go on and win the game at Millwall. I fancied the three points.

"After Georges went after 51 minutes we had to regroup and play only Pablo Counago up front."

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