RUDDY: We want pro­mo­tion for Carl

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By John Wragg

THERE’S one date in John Ruddy’s di­ary and two oth­ers he’d like to pen­cil in. Def­i­nite is the evening of Tues­day, October 31. That’s when Ruddy goes back to Nor­wich, the club he left this sum­mer af­ter seven years.

The other two dates are less cer­tain. But more im­por­tant.

Ruddy wants fel­low goal­keeper Carl Ikeme at the Wolves train­ing ground as soon as pos­si­ble.

Wolves to get pro­mo­tion this sea­son and for Ikeme to be at Mo­lineux to see it hap­pen.

Ikeme, 31, is cur­rently fight­ing acute leukaemia, in­stead of tak­ing on new boy Ruddy for the Wolves goal­keep­ing job.

Ruddy’s move had been set up be­fore blood tests showed Ikeme had can­cer, but the news was still raw when he ar­rived four days later.

“I thought I’d be ri­valling Carl here for the jersey”, says Ruddy. “I have spo­ken to him since I’ve been here, just to pass on my best wishes. I thought that was the right thing to do.

“For a num­ber of years, I have com­peted against him,

“I’ve got a lot of re­spect for him as a goal­keeper and as a guy. I said that in one of the first in­ter­views I did when I came here, I wanted to say some­thing.

“It’s heart-wrench­ing. It puts into per­spec­tive what life ac­tu­ally means.”

Boost

There was emo­tion all around Mo­lineux be­fore Wolves beat Mid­dles­brough on the open­ing day of the sea­son.

In a video mes­sage, Ikeme thanked the fans for their sup­port as he goes through his treat­ment and said he will see them soon.

Speak­ing this week amid the pitch noise, the ban­ter, the ev­ery­day life of Wolves’ train­ing ground that Ikeme will be miss­ing, Ruddy said: “My­self and the lads are re­ally hop­ing that Carl can make his way back down here at some point and give us the boost we need dur­ing the sea­son.

“I think that’s what it would be, a mas­sive boost for ev­ery­one. Prob­a­bly Carl as well. I think he’s in good spir­its, the treat­ment is go­ing well.”

Out of the dread­ful news from a rou­tine day when Ikeme wasn’t feel­ing 100 per cent and went for some rou­tine tests has come a cru­sade in­volv­ing Wolves and Cure Leukaemia.

Fans are help­ing, too. There was a 24-hour penalty shoot-out next to the club shop that went on from 10am on Fri­day to 10am of the Boro game.

Steve Bull, former cap­tains Karl Henry and Jody Crad­dock were all there and Crad­dock’s son, Toby, who has beaten leukaemia, took the last penalty.

Ge­off Thomas, a Wolves man who kicked leukaemia out of his life, is back­ing the fund-rais­ing and has been in touch with Ikeme. More than £70,000 has been raised so far and all goes to Cure Leukaemia.

Ikeme has the big­gest game of his life to win and will then cam­paign for more stem cell donors be­cause he has dis­cov­ered there is a short­age.

Mila, Ikeme’s daugh­ter, led the teams out last Satur­day and, ahead of yes­ter­day’s game at Derby, Ruddy said: “It re­minds you of the good life we have.

“It was so in­con­spic­u­ous the way he found out, just a cou­ple of rou­tine blood tests. Carl wasn't feel­ing well and all of a sud­den he is in this sit­u­a­tion.

“This makes you think ‘you know what, foot­ball is a won­der­ful sport but that’s what it is, it’s a sport’.

KEEP­ERS UNITED: John Ruddy wants Carl Ikeme, in­set above, fit and well to chal­lenge him for the No.1 spot. In­sets, right: How the fans are show­ing their sup­port

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