Former Crystal Palace midfielder Ambrose delighted with Ipswich return

Darren Amrbose has rejoined his boyhood cub Ipswich on a short-term deal, signing until January.

The ex-Crystal Palace and Charlton midfielder made his debut for the Tractor Boys as an 18-year old against Arsenal in 2002, scoring eight goals in 30 games, before leaving for Premier League side Newcastle.

He returned to Portman Road for the first half of the 2008/09 season, failing to score in nine appearances having joined on loan from Charlton. 110 games with the Eagles followed, during a three-year stay in London, before a switch to Birmingham City saw the now 30-year old play just seven games in two years. Released by manager Lee Clark during the summer, the midfielder was invited to train with Ipswich during pre-season, and Mick McCarthy was so impressed with his attitude that he invited Ambrose to stay on a short-term playing contract.

Whilst he is head towards the tail-end of his career, Ambrose told Ipswich Town News that he hoped he had plenty left to offer, and that he was looking for a few more years of his playing career.

“I hope so. That’s the aim. It wasn’t looking too good when I was turning down other opportunities in the summer but I knew the right one was just around the corner. When I had the opportunity to train here I grasped it.

“I was desperate to come in and try to impress. Hopefully I’ve done that and the time will go really quickly between now and January, but I’ll be looking to do enough to continue.

“Mark Kennedy was telling me the stat that the average footballer lasts eight years in a career. I didn’t know that but this is my 15th year now and I’m enjoying every minute that I can.

“I’ll be beyond 30 soon and I know how short a career it can be. When you’re a kid and you’re told that you don’t really understand or even believe it. But my time has gone as quickly as I can say and I’m looking to enjoy every last minute of the time I have left.

“That means trying to put in some good performances because that’s what it is about at the end of the day. I’m hungrier than ever now and there’s still time to put in a few performances and get a few more headlines.”

During his time on the sidelines at Birmingham, Ambrose agreed to a short-term switch to Greek side Apollon Smyrni, then coached by Lawrie Sanchez. When pressed, he opened up about his move east - a move that was rewarded with six goals in 11 games, although he failed to prevent Apollon’s relegation from the Greek Superleague.

“I had a difficult 18 months at Birmingham. Some managers like you and others don’t but it wasn’t anything personal. I just didn’t play at Birmingham, for whatever reason, and then I had the chance to go to Greece.

“It wasn’t about proving a point to anyone else but to prove a point to myself really. I wanted to prove I was still the player that I knew I could be and I had a really good stint over there. Hopefully I can continue that form here at Ipswich.

“Lawrie Sanchez was the manager and he spoke to Lee Clark at the time to see if there was a possibility of me going over there. I jumped at the chance. There are four or five really good teams and we were going to be playing them all during my time there.

“It was a good opportunity to go and try something new. I wasn’t getting a sniff at Birmingham and when I got over there I was pleasantly surprised. I’d heard a lot of bad stuff about Greek football but it was nothing like I had expected. It was a good competitive league and we had a good team.”

Ambrose will be looking to have the same impact back at Portman Road as he had in Greece, and he is in contention to make his third debut for the club this weekend, as Ipswich host a tough tie against Millwall.

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