Reo-Coker heading back to Reebok with new club

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

NIGEL Reo-Coker will be back at the Reebok in eight weeks, playing against the Whites.

The man who left Wanderers in the summer in a bid to stay in the Premier League will be lining up against them in the Championship.

He signed a short-term deal with Ipswich Town at the weekend which will see him face the Whites in front of his old fans on December 1.

After being frustrated in his search for a top-flight club, the 28-year-old was force to make a surprising U-turn by signing for Wanderers’ second-tier rivals.

The much-travelled midfielder ripped up his contract at the Reebok in the summer, but failed to attract the right offers.

Fulham were considering taking him to Craven Cottage in August but withdrew from negotiations, and the player’s representatives also claimed they had been contacted by clubs in Germany, Spain and Italy.

Paul Jewell’s Ipswich sit second bottom of the table at present, having won just once in their first 10 games.

But Reo-Coker insists his move back into football with the Tractor Boys is the right fit.

“Ipswich is a sleeping giant in the Championship,” said the former Aston Villa man, who missed just one game in the top flight under Owen Coyle last term. “It’s a massive club with a great history and tradition.

“The facilities are first class and there is a terrific fanbase. It’s the right club at the right time for me.

“I had a good conversation with the manager. He’s highly respected in the game for what he has achieved and I know what he’s trying to do.

“Ipswich may be at the wrong end of the table at the moment but it’s still early in the season and I’m sure with the manager and players the club have, it’s only a matter of time before things turn.”

Reo-Coker has endured a frustrating close-season searching for a new club and feels he was passed over in favour of “inferior” foreign players.

“You get a lot of guys coming over who know nothing about the League or the club they are signing for and just want the money,” he said.

“I spoke to clubs this season that decided to gamble on a foreign player with no experience in England over me. I know I am better than a lot of these guys and I played in the Premier League long enough to prove that I can perform at that level.”

Reo-Coker quit Bolton just a few days after their relegation was confirmed in May and spent just one season at the club.

He has signed a three-month deal at Portman Road but claims he has not thought about anything further down the line.

“I’ve no plans after that,” he said. “I’m here for three months and am looking forward to it.

“I want to do the best I can for Ipswich in that time and we will see where it goes after that.”

Jewell believes the former Wanderers stand-in skipper will be an important addition to his struggling team.

“There were a few clubs after Nigel so we are delighted to have him here,” he said.

“He’s played a lot of football in the Premier League and has a wealth of experience, even though he’s only 28.

“He will give us a lot of drive and energy in midfield. I think we have lacked that player to go and win the ball back for us and Nigel will do that.

“He has leadership qualities and has skippered teams wherever he has played. He’s also a strong character and that is what we need at the moment.”

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