‘For me it’s about getting Ipswich back to the Championship’ - Woolfenden on signing new Town deal

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 July 2020

Luke Woolfenden was a rare bright spot for Town in 2019/20. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Luke Woolfenden was a rare bright spot for Town in 2019/20. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Defender Luke Woolfenden has turned his attention to ‘finishing what we started’ after signing a new long-term deal with Ipswich Town.

Luke Woolfenden has signed a new contract with Ipswich Town. Picture Pagepix LtdLuke Woolfenden has signed a new contract with Ipswich Town. Picture Pagepix Ltd

The 21-year-old centre-half has extended his stay at Portman Road until the summer of 2024, making him the Blues longest-contracted player, following an impressive breakthrough season.

He, along with fellow academy graduate Flynn Downes, were shining lights in a poor season for the Blues as Paul Lambert’s men tumbled to 11th in the League One table, despite topping the pile earlier in the campaign.

Now Woolfenden wants to do all he can to right those wrongs when the new campaign begins.

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“Obviously I’m delighted to sign a new deal but for me, it’s about progressing here and getting this Club back in the Championship,” the defender told the club website.

Luke Woolfenden, left, and Flynn Downes are Ipswich Town's brightest young stars Picture: STEVE WALLERLuke Woolfenden, left, and Flynn Downes are Ipswich Town's brightest young stars Picture: STEVE WALLER

“We have to finish what we started. That’s got to be the aim. There will be an extra desire in the squad to put it right. This is a massive club. It shouldn’t be where it is but we have to get on with it.

“We owe the supporters that. We had 20,000 in the stadium every week and things were going well but then we fell away after January and where we finished just isn’t good enough.

“I don’t know why we fell away. We drew too many games, dropped points - especially at home. We didn’t take our chances in matches and then conceded and the confidence started to go. We can’t let that happen again next season.”

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As things stand there is no set date for Ipswich to return to training or match action, though a date in the middle of September has been proposed for League One to return.

It remains to be seen whether that is possible and, if it is, whether crowds will be allowed to return due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve watched some of the games on TV and it’s nowhere near the same with no supporters there,” Woolfenden said.

“Imagine playing at Wembley in the Play-Offs like they did the other day with the stadium empty.

Conor McKendry celebrates an U23 goal with Luke Woolfenden. Picture: ROSS HALLSConor McKendry celebrates an U23 goal with Luke Woolfenden. Picture: ROSS HALLS

“If we have to play behind closed doors, you get on with it but I really hope supporters are back when we start. It won’t be so strange for me because I was playing 23s football 18 months ago but for the senior lads, it will be very different.

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“I’m just desperate to get back playing again. I’ve even been texting my mates from school to see if they want a kickabout!”

Woolfenden, who spent a successful season on loan at Swindon in 2018/19, played 36 games for the Blues last season and wants to be just as central to Lambert’s plans when the new campaign gets going.

“I did come back last summer not really knowing what was happening and where I might be playing,” he explained.

“I got in the team though and I’ve moved on from there. Now I’ve got it in my head that I want to be first choice centre-back and play every week. That’s what I’m aiming for.”

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