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Ireland U21 striker set for extended lay-off after being injured in league debut for Ipswich Town

Aaron Drinan had finally made a breakthrough at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town's Aaron Drinan challenges for the ball with Fabian Balbuena of West Ham United during a recent pre-season friendly.
Ipswich Town's Aaron Drinan challenges for the ball with Fabian Balbuena of West Ham United during a recent pre-season friendly.
Image: PA

AARON DRINAN WILL be cursing his luck having learned that he’s facing an extended lay-off as a result of an injury he sustained in his league debut for Ipswich Town.

Two-and-a-half years since joining the club, Drinan made a long-awaited league debut in last weekend’s season opener against Wigan Athletic.

A thigh injury forced the Republic of Ireland U21 striker off at half-time in the 2-0 win for Paul Lambert’s side at Portman Road.

In his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s League One clash with Bristol Rovers, the Ipswich boss confirmed this morning that the injury to Drinan is more severe than was initially anticipated. 

“He’ll be out for a couple of months but that’s maybe what you get for having six months off,” said Lambert. “Nobody expected him to be where he is so it’s a real shame for him, but it’s something we’ll have to deal with. Hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

Drinan had impressed Lambert during Ipswich’s pre-season fixtures, starting with his two-goal contribution to a 4-0 win over Colchester United.

Mick McCarthy backed the Corkman to make an impact on the first-team at Ipswich when he signed him from Waterford in January 2018. However, he had to be patient in his search for a breakthrough.

Since his arrival in Suffolk, Drinan has spent time on loan at non-league club Sutton United, Swedish side Gais and Scottish outfit Ayr United, as well as returning for another stint at Waterford.

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“I can guarantee nobody thought we would be talking about Aaron at this stage of the season but he was terrific in training and convinced me to give him a chance, which he took,” Lambert added.

“These things happen but he’s proven to me he could do something for us. He’ll come back into the fold when he’s fit again because he’s shown me he can do it.” 

Drinan, who won six Ireland U21 caps under Stephen Kenny in 2019, is now in the final year of his Ipswich Town contract. 

“Whatever your goal happens to be – in my case it was to play for the Ipswich Town first-team – you have to keep going and I always believed it was going to happen for me,” he told the East Anglian Daily Times following his debut.

“I always felt I was good enough to play here and now that I’m in the side I want to stay in it for as long as possible and make a good number of appearances this season.

“I have the best part of a year left on my contract and I would like nothing more than to do well enough to earn a new one and extend my stay.”

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Paul Dollery

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