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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Delaney Talking "It was a bit of a crazy time at QPR for the last while..."

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Herald (Ireland)/Aidan Fitzmaurice
Delaney's sights on return to top-flight
Keane's high expectations enticed defender to Ipswich

PREMIER TARGET: Damien Delaney wants to finally make the breakthrough into the Premier League and believes his new club Ipswich Town can help him achieve that aim.

Ireland defender Damien Delaney is sick of life in the second tier of English football -- and that's why he joined Roy Keane's Ipswich Town revolution, so he can make a return to the Premier League.

Ipswich kick off their pre-season programme tonight when they take on Finn Harps in Donegal, the first of three games that Town will play here this summer, and it will be the first time that defender Delaney, capped twice at senior level by Giovanni Trapattoni, will get to show what he can do in an Ipswich shirt as the player only moved there from QPR last week.

Delaney did not have to leave Loftus Road as he has a year left on his contract, but once it was clear that Keane wanted the player, and also that Keane's club were willing to pay for Delaney, the move was inevitable, as Keane made a good job of selling the club -- and his vision of Premier League football -- to fellow Corkman Delaney.

"When I spoke to Roy about joining the club, the one thing he made clear was that he was very, very serious about making a real push for promotion this season and that's what I wanted to hear," said Delaney.

"He said there were no guarantees that we would go up, but he said that he would make a serious effort and make a real stab at it.

"That's what I wanted to hear because I am fed up with being in the Championship, to be honest. I have been there for four years now, and I want to play at a higher level again. Roy has an ambition to do well for the club and that was something I wanted to be part of, so I was happy to make the move to Ipswich and see what we can do about winning promotion," added Delaney, who played in the top flight with Leicester City after his move from home-town club Cork City in 1999.

In fact, that was when Delaney and Keane first came face to face with each other, as Delaney's Leicester side took on Keane's United team soon after Delaney's transfer from Cork. "I doubt if he remembers me or that game. I think Roy Keane has done so much in the game that he wouldn't remember a league game against Leicester all those years ago, so I doubt if he remembered me from that. But it was still nice when Roy came to bring me to Ipswich last week," added Delaney.

"It's all been a bit rushed. I only signed for Ipswich on Thursday, so we only had two training sessions together, last Friday and yesterday, to get ready for this game, but I am getting to know the lads and getting settled in. We don't have a long run-in before the season starts, our first league game is on August 8 so we only have a couple of weeks together before we get things going for real."

"It was a bit of a crazy time at QPR for the last while. I was lucky in that things were stable for me in the first few years of my career. I only had a couple of managers for so long, but we had so many at QPR. I think I played under five managers in two years there, and that kind of instability does you no good, so hopefully we'll have a good season with Ipswich."

This time last year, Delaney was on a high as he'd just made the breakthrough at international level, starting for Ireland at left back in Giovanni Trapattoni's first game in charge, against Serbia, and earning a second cap against Colombia in London.

But since then there has been little action with the national team, as Delaney was an unused sub in a few games after that and he failed to even make the bench for the last bout of Ireland duty, the games against Nigeria and Bulgaria at the end of last season.

Delaney says he's not upset at losing his place in the squad for the last round of Ireland games as he knows he can only win back a place in the squad -- and then press for a place in the team -- if he does well at club level.

"Of course I am ambitious and I want to play for my country again, but I won't start crying about the fact that I didn't make the squad last time around," said Delaney, who has seen younger defenders Eddie Nolan and Sean St Ledger emerge in recent months.

"The Ireland thing isn't really on my mind at the minute. I am focused on doing well with Ipswich and trying to get them promoted. If I can do well with my club then I'd hope that the international scene would take care of itself.

"I am hungry to do well with Ireland. I don't just want to be in the squad, I want to be in the team and winning caps. I haven't played for Ireland in a competitive game yet and that's something I want to change, but I will have to be patient," added the left back.

Delaney will make a quick trip back to his native country this week, as Ipswich flew into Ireland this morning to prepare for the Harps game, will stay overnight and train in Donegal again tomorrow before heading back to Suffolk.

"This should be a good game for us tonight. I know that Finn Park is a tough place to go to. I played there for Cork City and it was very hard to come away with anything," said Delaney, who was a decent GAA player in his day and played at Croke Park for Cork's minor footballers before soccer took over.

"I know from being in the league with Cork City that matches against English teams are always a big thing for the Irish lads.

"They have a point to prove, and the Harps lads will be doing that against us tonight. Maybe some of them have been in England already and want to show they still have something. Others might be trying to catch the eye, but there is always a big element of pride when you play for a League of Ireland side against an English team, so we'll need to be at our best to get something here." - Aidan Fitzmaurice Herald

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