Wilnis: We owe fans promotion

FABIAN Wilnis summed up the feeling in the Ipswich Town camp when he said today: "We owe it to our fans."The Dutchman goes into tomorrow's opener against Reading at Portman Road in good spirits and optimistic about the season ahead.

By Elvin King

FABIAN Wilnis summed up the feeling in the Ipswich Town camp when he said today: "We owe it to our fans."

The Dutchman goes into tomorrow's opener against Reading at Portman Road in good spirits and optimistic about the season ahead.

"We have 18,000 plus season tickets holders, who have again backed the club to the hilt," he added. "This is amazing and is a mark of a Premiership club.


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"It is now up to us players to reward our supporters for this fantastic loyalty. We want to move up from the First Division for ourselves, for the manager, but mostly for the fans."

Wilnis is adamant that there will be fewer goals conceded this term. The signing of goalkeeper Kelvin Davis, defender Drissa Diallo and midfielder Georges Santos has seen to that.

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"We have been training with Drissa for the full pre-season and he is a solid and reliable defender. Georges will sit in front of the back four to offer further protection while Kelvin looks a great keeper.

"And up front we will have no trouble scoring goals. Marcus and Darren Bent and Pablo Counago have been very sharp in friendly games and I can't wait to get started."

Wilnis, who fits a wing-back role perfectly, sees no problem with a 4-3-3 formation that manager Joe Royle is expected to play.

"I will still be able to move forward and go on runs with a flat back four. This is a big part of my game and I shall continue to look for forward openings."

Like the rest of the squad, Wilnis has had to toil away under a blazing sun all week.

"I am getting a nice tan," he joked. "It is the hottest pre-season I can remember and there have been constant stops to take on water."

It was not quite so warm for the Dutchman, who will be 33 later this month, when he paid a visit to former team-mate Hermann Hreidarsson during the summer.

He had a great time. "It was magnificent," said Wilnis. "Hermann took me to the island where he was brought up just off the coast of Iceland.

"The scenery was out of this world and we went jet skiing and mountain climbing. Hermann's neighbour had a spa bath and that was tremendous fun as well."

After virtually being put on the scrapheap by former manager George Burley in 2001/02, Wilnis' fortunes have pepped up considerably under Royle.

From being unable to gain a place in the second team he has forced his way back to become a first team regular.

His next mission is to make it a carnival campaign for Town fans with promotion back to the Premiership.

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