Prospect of playing at Portman Road just as exciting as Wembley for Woolfenden
PUBLISHED: 16:33 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 01 May 2018
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Teenage defender Luke Woolfenden will forget about his Wembley disappointment if he makes his home debut for his hometown club this Sunday.
Blues caretaker boss Bryan Klug recalled the 19-year-old from a loan spell at National League side Bromley last Friday to bolster an injury and suspension hit squad.
It denies the youngster chance to play in the FA Trophy Final against Brackley Town later this month, but has handed him a golden chance to make his mark at Championship level for the club he has been with since the age of 14.
The Ipswich-born player went straight into the starting XI for Saturday’s 4-0 win at Reading and produced an assured display on the right side of a back three.
And he looks set to keep his place for Sunday’s season-finale against Middlesbrough at Portman Road, the visitors already assured of a play-off spot.
“I’m buzzing,” he said, beaming ear-to-ear. “I really enjoyed the game from start to finish. I didn’t want the game to end when it finished. I was just having a great time and thought I did alright.”
Town recalled teenage centre-back Chris Smith from a loan spell at National League South side Chelmsford last month, but the 20-year-old former Kesgrave High School pupil suffered a back injury in training last week to join Luke Chambers (ribs/shoulder), Cameron Carter-Vickers (ankle), Dominic Iorfa (thigh/groin) and Grant Ward (suspended) in being available.
“There was talk of it (a recall) about a month ago but the thinking was to just stay at Bromley until the end of the season,” explained Woolfenden, who had produced two impressive displays in the Carabao Cup ties at Luton and Crystal Palace last August, shackling England winger Andros Townsend in the latter.
“Then on Friday I drove up to Bromley and I got a call to say, ‘Come back, you’re going to Reading’.
“I didn’t want to come back just to sit on the bench. I think that’s why they left it so late because they knew I’d played the last two games. My three appearances have all been away so far, so I definitely want to start at Portman Road on Sunday.”
Having primarily been used as a right-back, Woolfenden – who is both tall and quick – says he sees centre-back as his best position long-term. He added: “The loan spell has improved me massively. In the first couple of games I made a couple of mistakes but it’s just a learning curve. It’s proper men’s football and it’s helped a lot.”