Noel Hunt not giving up on his season with promotion chasing Ipswich

Noel Hunt (R) celebrates scoring for Ipswich Town at Charlton Athletic. The Waterford man will sign for Ipswich on a permanent basis after severing his ties with Leeds United yesterday.

Aidan Fitzmaurice

IRELAND cap Noel Hunt has vowed to be back in action with Ipswich Town before the end of the season, even though he had been ruled out until next term.

The Waterford-born player has made a big impact since joining Ipswich from Leeds United but as Mick McCarthy's men aim for automatic promotion to the Premier League, Hunt is out for at least two months, having suffered a knee injury against Fulham earlier this month.

But ex-Shamrock Rogers man Hunt has not given up hope of playing again this season and plans to be available if Ipswich miss out on automatic promotion and end up in the playoffs.

"I'm gutted to be out but the incentive for me now is to get back before the end of the season," says Hunt, who scored three times in 13 games for McCarthy's side. "If it's 12 weeks and we are in the playoffs, then I can get back for that. If I can make it eight or nine weeks, then I'll be back before the end of the season. That is what I'm aiming for.

"I'll put the work in. I don't like sitting around anyway so I'll be doing double sessions and everything I can to be back as quick as I can."

Hunt initially joined Ipswich on loan from Leeds but that deal was made permanent, and his time at Portman Road was going well - until that injury away to Fulham on St Valentine's Day. "I didn't know the extent of the damage but I knew it was worse than a kick," he says. "When I was coming off on the stretcher all I could hear was the Ipswich fans singing my name. That meant a lot to me and I want to pay them back for that," added the Waterford-born striker.