Tuesday 12 December 2017

Tractor Boys loan switch just what the doctor ordered for Andrews

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

ON this day three years ago Keith Andrews made his debut in the Premiership for Blackburn Rovers.

Today he's just glad to be away from Ewood Park and preparing for Ireland's crucial European championship qualifier against Slovakia at the Aviva on Friday.

The 30-year-old Dubliner arrived in the Irish camp delighted with his form and pleased with his loan move to Championship side Ipswich. Already Andrews has hit the net three times in three starts for the Tractor Boys, including the winner against Leeds on Saturday.

Last season his playing time was minimal due to injury, so game time is crucial to a player virtually certain to start alongside Glenn Whelan in midfield against Slovakia.

"It's been good. Nice to get out and play a bit of football. Our results haven't been hectic, but from a personal point of view it's gone very well," said Andrews.

Ipswich boss Paul Jewell has given the Irishman licence to raid forward when he gets the opportunity. This week Andrews prepares to bed down into the more limited role demanded by Irish manager Giovanni Trappatoni, but he's not complaining.

effective

"For club and country you play different systems, different formations. The way we set up for Ireland is two players sitting in midfield and it's proved very effective over the last few years.

"If we went gung-ho, like we've possibly done at club level, we might get spanked 5-2 and 7-1 like I've been in the last few weeks, so it's a means to an end.

"Of course it's nice to get forward but the overall main objective is the team winning games, and the team picking up points, so from that point of view I'm more than happy to do my job for Ireland," he said.

The player's future at Blackburn is open to conjecture, but he hasn't given up on a return to the Premier League.

"I'm glad to be out on loan. I could quite easily have stayed there, but having not played a lot of football last year, and with Ireland trying to qualify for a major championship, I needed games. From that point of view it was a no-brainer and I feel I've made the right decision.

"But I hope and expect it's not to be the last time I play in the Premier League. I'm only on loan at Ipswich for a few months. The main thing was to be playing week-in, week out and that will hopefully give me that platform that I can bounce back."

Friday's game against the Slovaks and Tuesday's trip to Moscow puts the team into 'squeaky-bum time' of the Euro campaign, but Andrews looks forward to the challenge. "All the big players are here and we're going into both games looking to win," he said.

Irish Independent

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