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Stephen Ward completes move to...
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Stephen Ward completes move to Ipswich Town

Conor Breslin
Conor Breslin

21:10 17 Aug 2020

Former Republic of Ireland defender Stephen Ward has joined League One Ipswich Town on a one-year deal.

The 34-year-old left-back, who was a free agent after leaving Stoke City, has been training with the Tractor Boys for the last week under manager Paul Lambert.

Ward joined the Potters last June on a one-year contract, having been released by Premier League club Burnley.

Speaking last week on the issue, Ipswich’s general manager of football operations, Lee O’Neill, said “Stephen is with us for a little while. We will have a look at the club, and we will have a look at him. It’s no more than that at this stage.”

Ipswich unveiled a trio of signings on Monday with Ward, Oli Hawkins and keeper David Cornell all joining the club. They finished 11th last season in what was their first campaign in the third tier of English football since 1957.

Ward won 50 caps for Ireland before announcing his retirement in March 2019. The Irish defender now links up with another Ireland international, Alan Judge, who was one of Ipswich's standout players last term.

"I'm delighted to have signed," Ward told the club website. "At this stage of my career, I just wanted to find a project that really excited me. Ipswich is a massive club, a club that should really be higher in terms of league status.

"That's what we'll look to do this year. The ambition is to get promoted.

"I actually scored my first goal in England when I moved over here [from Bohs to Wolves]. I've always enjoyed playing here, there's always a really good atmosphere, the town really gets behind the club.

"Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about."

The 34-year-old Dubliner experienced a 2019/20 campaign derailed by injury, however, as he lost his starting position following a back injury late last year.

He ended a long wait for minutes with a start against Wigan Athletic recently, though Michael O’Neill’s Stoke side lost 3-0, he was booked, and it proved to be the Irishman’s final game.

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