Westy spurred on by promotion agony
IAN Westlake believes the bitter memory of last season's nightmare near miss will help to propel Ipswich towards promotion in the new campaign.The 21-year-old midfielder echoed the thoughts of all his colleagues when he said: “I've just about got over the fact that we didn't go up.
IAN Westlake believes the bitter memory of last season's nightmare near miss will help to propel Ipswich towards promotion in the new campaign.
The 21-year-old midfielder echoed the thoughts of all his colleagues when he said: “I've just about got over the fact that we didn't go up.
“It was a tough season and it was such a massive disappointment that we faded so much at the end.
“I'm not sure where it went wrong, whether the pressure got to us or what it was. It's hard to put your finger on it.
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“We were so solid as a team for so long. We were going along nicely when Shefki (Kuqi) got injured and it really seemed to affect us.
“When he was in full flow there was no stopping him and at the time he and Benty were doing really well together.
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“His absence seemed to hit us badly and we had a few bad results, then after that we were chasing it and we finished just short
“Now we can't wait for the pre-season friendlies. We have some tough games lined up and we should be in good shape come the start of the real thing.”
Town launch into their warm-up programme at Cambridge United tomorrow night and Clacton-born Westlake outlined his own personal agenda over the coming months.
The fans' choice as Player of the Year for 2003-2004, he added: “I am looking to be more consistent than I was last season. I played well for a month or two, then I wasn't so hot for a couple of weeks.
“People did warn me that my second season as a first team player would be hard. I don't think I did too badly, but there is always room for improvement.”
The industrious midfielder, whose knack of being in the right place at the right time earned him seven goals last term, praised new arrivals Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin.
“Working with these guys over the past week or so has shown what good players they both are,” he said.
“You only have to look at their records to see what they can bring to Ipswich. They have been prolific at their previous clubs.
“Sam is a big, strong lad with a really good touch and he is going to give us a lot, both in terms of creating and scoring goals.
“As for Nicky, he is as sharp as ever. He has terrific pace over a few yards and I can also see him getting among the goals.
“Jimmy Juan agreeing to stay on loan from Monaco is another good bit of business by the gaffer.
“He was here for a time last season but we never saw the best of him because of injuries. He has looked really good in training.
“I know we have seen six senior players leave us, but the players who have come in are all capable of making a big impact in the new season.
“I don't think scoring goals is going to be a problem. Sam and Nicky will see to that, while we have midfielders who like to get forward.
“We tightened up at the back last season and it will be important again that we don't concede too many goals.”
Westlake expects several members of last season's FA Youth Cup-winning side to follow in his own footsteps and establish themselves in Joe Royle's senior squad.
“The gaffer has already mentioned some of the lads, so it is clear they are in his plans, and anyone who pushes through will always be given a chance at this club,” he added.