Town hit-man Pablo Counago is threatening to take his frustration out on Norwich City tomorrow when he makes his long-awaited return from suspension.
The Spaniard feels he needs to make up for lost time after missing Town's last three matches due to his controversial dismissal against Scunthorpe last month and the Canaries could be about to feel the brunt of the former Malaga man's sense of injustice.
Jim Magilton's side have certainly missed one of the Championship's more slippery customers with Jordan Rhodes the only Blue to find the net during Counago's ban and the 28-year-old is determined to fire Ipswich back into the top six on Sunday.
“I'm really pleased to be back because when you are out of the team it is so frustrating,” said Counago, who celebrated the birth of his first child the Sunday before last.
“When you're not playing you really want to come back and be involved in the team and Sunday is a big game and a big chance for us. We need to win to keep fighting for the play-offs and it's going to be a nice one to come back in.”
Counago is keen to put the row at Glanford Park behind him but took one final swipe at both Andy Butler and Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins, who both accused of the front man of spitting in the defender's face.
“It was a strange red card and I had some problems as well with the manager and what they said afterwards,” said Counago, whose appeal against the sending off for a separate incident with Jack Cork was rejected by the FA.
“They were lying and the number 16 was the one who started everything. He was kicking me and elbowing me in the face without the ball and after that there were a lot of problems.
“But I don't want to speak about what happened anymore because it's all in the past. Now I just want to think about Sunday ? it's a derby and we are only one point outside the play-offs and we still have a good chance if we can put a run of games together.”
If Town don't make the top six then many fans will cite Counago's dismissal as the key moment in the Blues season.
After going more than three months without a goal, Counago found the net against Barnsley in March and suddenly looked like the player that had tormented so many Championship defences this season.
Another goal against Scunthorpe underlined his return to form but when Town were deprived of his services for three matches it exposed an alarming weakness up front.
However, Counago tried to play down the significance of his absence saying that he is merely just one small part of the Blues squad ? the Portman Road faithful would beg to differ.
“I am just a part of the team,” he said. “Of course when things don't go right in the team people naturally start to look at the players that are out of the side.
“I want to help the team win games ? I just want to play my part. I'm not a special one ? I'm just one part of the squad ? there are another 25 or so parts of the team.
“We all have to stay together ? football is about the team and not about one or two players.”
Town's cause has not been helped recently by Alan Lee's loss of form with the Republic of Ireland international guilty of missing several gilt-edged chances in the Blues' last two games.
However, Counago insisted the 29-year-old has been playing well and backed his regular strike partner to rediscover his shooting boots.
“It's not easy when you are low in confidence and you don't feel like you are playing your best football,” said Counago. “All the players in the world have these kind of bad moments but it is worse for strikers because even if you play well people don't notice you unless you've scored.
“Strikers are always going to be judged on goals. When you don't play well but you're scoring goals then everything is still alright.
“I think Alan has been fantastic all season and in the last game he was working a lot for the team. It's frustrating for him because he is desperate to score goals but it's the same with all strikers ? when he gets one then he will go on a little run.”
Lee will have to find the back of the net again soon with young hot-shot Jordan Rhodes pushing his claims for a starting place after coming off the bench against Cardiff to grab his first ever senior goal.
The 18-year-old has earned rave reviews playing for the Under-18s and the reserves this season and is the latest academy product to roll off the production line at Playford Road.
While backing Rhodes to become a fellow crowd favourite, Counago has urged fans to give the youngster time to feel his way into Championship football and not to expect too much, too soon.
“He is going to score a lot of goals for Ipswich,” said Counago. “He is a typical striker and is capable of scoring a lot of goals.
“He needs to be stay calm though and of course we need to help him. But I think he will keep his feet on the floor because he is really level-headed and a really nice guy.
“It will take time because he is very young. He can do great things for the team, but at the moment it's important to give him time to learn.”
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