SMITH SAYS: YOU BERRA FORGET IT
Fourth goal in Leeds thrashing is mine
TEAM-MATES Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra have been at loggerheads this week over who scored Ipswich’s fourth in their demolition of Leeds United last weekend.
Rarely has a goal scored this season been so fiercely contested, but Smith insists his header crossed the line without the aid of Berra – something the Scotland international contests. Even the Ipswich website can’t seem to make its mind up whose goal it is.
The reason for their disagreement is simple: money is at stake.
“It was mine,” Smith insists. “Christophe will have to strike that one off his list.
“We have a goal competition throughout the whole squad that the gaffer brought in.We all had to put down a target for the season and put some money in. If you hit your target you get your money back, but if you don’t it goes to charity.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s important to get goals from all around the pitch. Our main job, as a defence, is to stop them going in at the other end, but if we can relieve a bit of pressure on Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick that can only benefit the team.”
Smith is staying tight-lipped as to what his magic number is.
But after seven years of ups and downs with Ipswich, their longest serving player is delighted that whether or not he nodded in his third goal of the season last week is the most pressing issue at Portman Road.
“This is certainly the best shape I’ve known the club be in in my time here,” added the New Zealand international defender. “This is nose-bleed territory for me. Over my time here, we’ve never been inside the top two for so long.
“Last season was good for the club, but we just couldn’t break into that top six. But we’ve probably taken that experience on
board and that’s what has made the difference this season.
“But we are not even at the halfway point, so we can’t afford to get too ahead of ourselves. We’ve just got to keep picking up points and go about our business the way we know how and not concentrate too much on what those around us are doing.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of the boys in the New Zealand squad about the Premier League, Winston Reid and Chris Wood, and it’s certainly somewhere everyone wants to play their football. It would be a dream come true if we realised that ambition.”
Should Ipswich fail to return to the top flight for the first time since 2001-02, the club could risk losing many of their highly-rated stars, with 21-year-old left-back Tyrone Mings on many Premier League managers’ wish-list.
“These are decisions for the board, not me, but I’d like to think we have got a good chance of going up and that might be enough to keep the team together,” added the 24-year-old.
“Tyrone has come a long way in a short period of time. He is very athletic, plus he’s very strong and quick, which you need to be to be a Premier League footballer.
“He’s an excellent full-back and assisted quite a few goals too going forwards. If he can carry that on, then I’m sure people will keep watching him. But we wouldn’t want to lose him.”
HEAD BOY: Tommy Smith heads in the contested fourth goal in the 4-1 romp against Leeds United
GOAL BID: Berra
ONE TO WATCH: Tyrone Mings is attracting top-flight interest