Date: 27th April 2016 at 7:03pm
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Town supporters were incensed when he lost his place at the start of the season because of a family bereavement and was never recalled.

This seemed like a callous move on the part of manager Mick McCarthy, who certainly seems to have his favourites and one of them appears to be Dean Gerken; who along with Cole Skuse and Jonathan Douglas always seem to get on the team sheet – regardless of their current form.

Gerken stayed in goal as the Town number one for 5 months until an injury forced the manager’s hand and he re-introduced the Pole back into the starting line up for the 2-1 home win against Reading but Bailkowski had learned a valuable lesson and seemed determined to give McCarthy no excuse to dislodge him again!

From that moment on Bailkowski never looked back and a string of outstanding performances in goal meant that even when fit Gerken could not get back into the side!

McCarthy has always said that he has two outstanding keepers and certainly in the latter stages of his role as first choice keeper, Gerken pulled off some fine saves and seemed to be able to marshal his defence much more effectively than he had in the past.

Bartosz however was determined that when he got back into the team he would not let this opportunity desert him and a series of excellent displays ensured that McCarthy had to accept that he had secured his place at long last as the blues number one.

Sadly even with Bartosz Bialkowski in goal, the blues could not reach the play-off’s but without him I feel sure we would have conceded more and one or two of his saves at the back end of the season were quite simply world class!

He deservedly won the Player of the Season award and has gone from strength to strength since.

Of course there are still some aspects of his game that he needs to work on and I would like to see him bowl the ball out more than he does but when we have Luke Chambers as a so-called wing back you can probably understand why he is reluctant to do so!

Next season he surely has to be our first choice again but unusually for goalkeepers both of them have managed to get lots of first team action during the course of the last few seasons.

The fear is that the rave reviews he keeps getting is bound to alert top clubs to his talents and let us hope that Town are bold enough to ensure he remains with the club for many years to come.

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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