Westlake looks to extend scoring run

IAN Westlake heads for Rotherham tomorrow looking to score in his third game on the trot.If his prayers are answered, he will do so with an action replay of former midfield partner Jermaine Wright's spectacular strike at Millmoor last season.

IAN Westlake heads for Rotherham tomorrow looking to score in his third game on the trot.

If his prayers are answered, he will do so with an action replay of former midfield partner Jermaine Wright's spectacular strike at Millmoor last season.

Wright, now with Leeds, levelled for Town with a magnificent long-range blast midway through the second half, before further goals near the end by Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi earned a 3-1 win.

Westlake, on target against Cardiff last Saturday and Brentford in midweek, remembers it well.

He said: “It came out of nothing, really. Matt Richards just rolled the ball in to Jamma and he let fly with a shot that flew into the top corner.

“It was Ipswich's goal of the season and rightly so, but if it had been scored in the Premiership I think it would have been THE goal of the season.

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“It is definitely the best goal I have ever seen scored in a game I've been playing in and I'd love to get one like that. Any player would.”

The industrious midfielder's midweek goal could hardly have been more different to that long-range blast by Wright in April.

He virtually walked the ball home after keeper Lewis Price unleashed a monster clearance at a time when opposite number Stuart Nelson was stranded upfield after deserting his goal to add his height and weight to a Brentford corner.

That incident was the main talking point as Welsh Under-21 keeper Price and his temporary landlord, Westlake, unwound before turning in for the night.

Westlake added: “Lewis is living at my house until his own place is ready and I thought he might be a bit annoyed with me stealing his thunder.

“Some people said if I'd left the ball it would have gone in on its own, but Lewis agreed I did the right thing to knock it in, especially with a defender bearing down on me.

“I'll take the goal. It doesn't matter whether they're from 40 yards out or a tap-in, they all count.”

Westlake received a boost yesterday when he was named alongside club colleague Darren Bent in the England Under-21 squad for European Championship qualifiers in Austria and Poland next month.

His first call-up was for the recent friendly against Ukraine, but he was among the unused substitutes at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, as Bent's late goal rounded off a comfortable 3-0 win.

His international ambitions will remain on hold as Westlake looks to help secure victories at Rotherham and at home to Wolves on Monday.

He said: “We've had a decent start to the league and there's no one team really flying at the moment. We are just looking to keep it going and to stay among the leading pack.”

Westlake, who scored three goals in as many games in February this year, is a certain starter at Millmoor - but boss Joe Royle is still unsure about his line-up.

Matt Richards is ruled out again with the infected ankle gash that saw him miss the Cardiff and Brentford games, while Fabian Wilnis will have a fitness test on a similar wound on his shin.

Tony Dinning, on loan from Wigan, is also doubtful after he ricked his neck in midweek while warming up for the Carling Cup game.

Royle said today: “I am hoping Fabian will be fit. At the moment he has a better chance than Tony.”

Skipper Jim Magilton is pushing for his first league appearance of the season, having recovered from a torn thigh muscle and emerging from a 63-minute run-out in midweek without any reaction.

Rotherham are hoping former West Bromwich Albion central defender Phil Gilchrist will have recovered from an ankle injury in time to play. The Millers are unbeaten in six league and cup games at home since Town triumphed there in April.

SQUADS

ROTHERHAM: Pollitt, Stockdale, Swailes, S Barker, Gilchrist, Minto, Sedgwick, Vernazza, Garner, Mullin, R Barker, Shaw, Scott, Hurst, Warne, Proctor, McLaren, Hoskins, Montgomery.

IPSWICH: Davis, Diallo, De Vos, Naylor, Miller, Magilton, Horlock, Westlake, Bent, Kuqi, Bowditch, Wilnis, Dinning, Barron, Counago, Mitchell, Price.

Referee: Graham Laws (Whitley Bay).

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