Delaney's Double Mission
Friday, 30th Dec 2011 08:00
Fit-again Town defender Damien Delaney is on a double mission for club and country after his return to first-team duty following an eight-game absence with a broken right foot.
Not only will he be bidding to help Ipswich climb the Championship table over the remaining 24 league games, the Irishman is also eyeing the possibility of a place in the Republic squad for next summer’s European Championship being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Delaney knows only too well that to add to his five senior caps he will have to be performing both regularly and consistently if he is to force his way back into Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad and accepts that even that may not be enough.
But the player signed in July 2009 by former boss Roy Keane from QPR at an initial cost of £750,000 is determined not to miss out on the Euros, so much so that he has firm plans to attend as a spectator if he is not included in the Irish party.
Cork-born Delaney, 30, said: “There are loads of people going and I’ve chatted to some friends about it. Ideally I’ll be in the squad but for that to happen I need to be playing games for Ipswich. If there are a couple of injuries, or there are any other problems, hopefully I’ll be in a position where I can come in.
“But my form for Ipswich is the key and that’s my main focus. I need to be playing but I also need to get a bit of form going. If I’m not playing I’ve got no chance and I know I need things to go my way if I’m going to be on that plane.
“It is one of my goals, 100 per cent, and hopefully I’ll be out there one way or the other. My mates are looking at me to get the tickets but I’m hoping Keith Andrews will fix me up. If he’s not coming back here I will definitely be staying in touch with him!”
Coincidentally, Delaney said he had been watching a television programme earlier this week that had served to whet his appetite to sample the big-time atmosphere of a major tournament.
He added: “I saw the Dutch scoring a last-minute goal against Ireland in 1988 to reach the semi-finals and we haven’t been in the finals since then. It’s been a while and I’d love to get involved.
“I was in the squad for the games against Armenia and Andorra – the last two qualifiers – but I was injured when the two play-off games against Estonia came round. I’ve been in and around the squad, though, so you never know.”
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