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Blues Keepers Best of Friends
Friday, 15th Jan 2016 12:27

No one will be more delighted than Dean Gerken if second-choice goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski is Town’s man of the match in Tuesday’s FA Cup third round replay at Portsmouth.

Boss Mick McCarthy is likely to rest first-choice Gerken at Fratton Park, just as he did alongside a number of other changes in personnel for last weekend’s first tie that ended 2-2 thanks to sub Ryan Fraser’s late leveller.

Gerken has established himself as McCarthy’s number one after only being restored to the starting line-up four games into the league campaign – at Preston, the visitors to Portman Road this weekend – after Bialkowski was granted compassionate leave and returned to Poland following the death of his father.

The ex-Colchester and Bristol City keeper said: “Ever since Bart walked through the door we clicked. It’s not a nice position for him to be in at the moment but I’ve been there myself and know what it’s like.

“We both know the situation and we both want to play but we also want this team to be a Premier League team next season – and that’s bigger than both of us or any other member of the team.

“We’re all here for the same reason – hopefully to get the team as high up this league as we can and then get promoted to the Promised Land.

“Me and Bart, we’ll always be tight. He’s a good mate of mine, a good goalkeeper and we work brilliantly together and as a group with the other keepers at the club.

“If he’s playing at Portsmouth on Tuesday and keeps a clean sheet to get us through I’ll be delighted for him. I thought he was brilliant in the first game against them and I want him to do well. I want the team to do well and there will be no change in that no matter what happens.”

Gerken thinks the goalkeeping position at Town is in safe hands for many years to come, adding: “Malcolm Webster, our goalkeeping coach, is brilliant the way he gets everyone together to train as a big group. There are five or six of us, training every day together, which is good for us all and I wish I’d had that when I was a young pro.

“I’d have liked working with the older guys and knowing the level I had to reach. We are all good keepers – Mally wouldn’t pick an idiot – and everyone has a chance.

“We work hard together, we have a laugh together too and he oversees it all brilliantly. I find all the other keepers a joy to work with.”

But Gerken admits he was disappointed to see team-mate Jonny Parr depart this week, the Norwegian international returning home to join Strømsgodset after 18 months, 43 appearances and three goals for Town.

Gerken said: “We don’t have much of a revolving door at Ipswich because players tend to come here and stay. When someone does leave it’s sad to see but Jonny wanted to go home.

“He’s got a young family on the way and I wish him all the luck for the future. He’s a great lad and a great player as well.”

Photo: Action Images

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