ONE HAPPY CHAPPY

Richard Chap­low is in form at Ip­swich af­ter climb­ing off Mill­wall’s bench

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

RICHARD Chap­low’s trans­for­ma­tion from Mill­wall out­cast to Ip­swich regular may seem bizarre, but hav­ing re­cently en­tered his thir­ties, the mid­fielder be­lieves this could be his very own re­nais­sance.

Chap­low has spent the ma­jor­ity of this sea­son watch­ing from the side­lines as Mill­wall have lan­guished in the Cham­pi­onship drop zone.

The for­mer Eng­land U21 star claims his omis­sion was down to “pol­i­tics” sur­round­ing his con­tract and the fact Ian Holloway – the Li­ons boss at the time – re­fused to look past it.

Dreaming

Chap­low has made just six league starts for the strug­gling Lon­don­ers this term and, with his deal up in the sum­mer, a loan move to Pre­mier League-chas­ing Ip­swich in Fe­bru­ary ap­peared too good to be true.

Yet the 30-year-old, who scored the vi­tal win­ner in the Trac­tor Boys’ 1-0 victory over fel­low pro­mo­tion-chasers Wat­ford last month, is sud­denly dreaming of an un­likely re­turn to the top-flight.

“It has been a bit strange if you’re an out­sider look­ing in, but I be­lieve in my qual­ity,” said Chap­low, whose last stint in the Pre­mier League came, very briefly, with Southamp­ton al­most three years ago.

“Things weren’t quite go­ing to plan at Mill­wall so it has been nice to come here and con­trib­ute to the cause.

“The team was strug­gling, things got moved around and even though I was fit and des­per­ate to play, Ian Holloway was look­ing past that. It can hap­pen in foot­ball.

“As a bloke, there are not too many nicer than Ian, he’s some­one I re­spect a lot. We had a chat at the start of the sea­son and he said I’m not some­one he could see at the foot­ball club next sea­son. I was fine with that, I’d con­tinue to give 100 per cent no mat­ter what, but for him it was a bit more of a prob­lem. It was a bit of pol­i­tics with my con­tract up at the end of the sea­son, I think.

“I’ve been play­ing the game for 12 years now and I’m no less of a player than I was at Saints. I was 30 a cou­ple of months ago, I’ve still got some years left in me – per­haps this is a bit of a re­nais­sance for me.

“It would be nice to reach the Pre­mier League with Ip­swich, of course. It would be a great swan­song and for some

play- ers it hap­pens, but there have been no prom­ises made with re­gards to my fu­ture.”

Chap­low turned 30 in Fe­bru­ary, just be­fore his move to Port­man Road, and the for­mer Burn­ley man ad­mits his ca­reer has flashed by since a £1.5m move to West Brom way back in Jan­uary 2005.

“Time flies so fast, I’ve been at a few clubs along the way and it’s been an amaz­ing jour­ney up un­til now, with the highs and the lows as well,” he con­tin­ued

“It’s been a tricky one for me this sea­son. I’ve strug­gled for play­ing time but, per­son­ally, I’m a light-hearted kind of guy, I don’t take any­thing se­ri­ously.

“I went to Mill­wall from Southamp­ton and I was re­ally look­ing to push on. I went there when Kenny Jack­ett was still the manager and things changed af­ter he left – from that point on it wasn’t quite the same place.

“But I’m still ex­tremely con­fi­dent in my abil­ity, I have four or five good years left in me yet. I’ve played vir­tu­ally for all of my ca­reer in the Cham­pi­onship and I’m as good as any­one in the league in terms of the skill-set I bring.”

Ip­swich boss Mick McCarthy will cer­tainly be hop­ing Chap­low can reach his for­mer heights with the Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tion race so tight.

Roller­coaster

The Suffolk side are all-but out of the race for the top two, but the ‘Bald Ea­gle’ – as Chap­low re­cently re­ferred to him­self on Twit­ter – says land­ing a play-off place would be a great end to his roller­coaster sea­son.

“It’s a squad game nowa­days and I knew it would be tough but I just want to make an im­pact here,” added Chap­low.

“It was a no-brainer to move here. Mick is some­one I have known for a long time and, for me, it was a fan­tas­tic chance. I am de­lighted it has been handed to me, I just hope we can fin­ish the job.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

WHERE EA­GLES DARE: Ip­swich’s Richard Chap­low cel­e­brates scor­ing their dra­matic late win­ner at Wat­ford TALE OF TWO MAN­AGERS: Mick McCarthy and, inset, Ian Holloway

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