ESSEX COUNTY STANDARD TOWN CORRESPONDENT MATT PLUMMER DELIVERS HIS WEEKLY THOUGHTS ON THE NEWS FROM PORTMAN ROAD: He was the forgotten man of Portman Road.
And even his long, long-awaited return from injury was overlooked during the aftermath of Ipswich’s 3-0 thumping of Sheffield United on Saturday.
But while all the post-match talk focused on Connor Wickham, perhaps the most pleasing aspect was the sight of Luca Civelli back in a Town shirt. I’ll be honest – I didn’t think I’d ever see it happen.
Twenty-three months is an extraordinarily long time to be out and I seriously doubted whether he could come back.
Aside from obvious question marks about his fitness, so much has changed since the night he suffered that horrific injury against Burnley in March 2009.
The squad has a completely different look to it and the manager has changed not once but twice.
That means Civelli effectively missed out on the Roy Keane regime (lucky him).
Of course, he’s still got a long way to go in his rehabilitation and his fitness remains an issue.
But how pleasing that such a likable player, one with so much talent and potential, should suddenly be back in the fold.
To coin a cliche, it’s like having a new player in the squad.
Civelli made a real impression in his eight games under Jim Magilton.
He brought flair and width to the side – something that was an issue then and, in my eyes, still is today.
So we can only hope that from both a personal and team perspective, he gets back to that kind of sparkling form.
Saturday must have been an emotional day for the Argentinian.
He rightly got a rapturous ovation when he stepped off the bench and it was heartening to read his quotes afterwards, thanking supporters for giving him the strength to keep fighting.
Now he has to look forward rather than backwards and if ever a player deserved a break, and an injury-free run, it’s him.
Civelli’s return was a highlight but so too, of course, was Wickham’s goal.
His first touch to control the ball was pure class and then when he ran and ran at the tired Blades defence, you knew there was no stopping him.
I wouldn’t say it was my favourite goal at Portman Road. Others have clearly carried more significance, in the context of individual matches or seasons. However, I can’t think of a better one and it’ll certainly live long in the memory.