Mark McGuinness made his debut for Ipswich Town on Tuesday and helped them keep a clean sheet, after a bit of a wait for his first opportunity.

Mark McGuinness (R) challenging a Gillingham player (Photo via Ipswich Town on Twitter)
Mark McGuinness (R) challenging a Gillingham player (Photo via Ipswich Town on Twitter)

McGuinness joined Ipswich Town on loan from Arsenal towards the end of the summer transfer window, and made his first matchday squad on October 10th. However, he then featured in a further three squads on the bench without playing a minute on the pitch.

In fairness, Ipswich were initially on a good run at the top of the table, only conceding twice in their first four games of the season. But that changed with a couple of defeats last week, including a 4-1 battering by Doncaster Rovers.

Perhaps as a result of that dip in form, McGuinness got his first chance in the starting lineup on Tuesday. He was certainly very busy, making nine clearances, four interceptions, one tackle and blocking a shot. He also spent a lot of time on the ball, making 109 touches and completing 72 passes.

But it was a positive result in the end, a 1-0 win. McGuinness said afterwards that he enjoyed the battle.

“They were quite direct, quite challenging for us,” McGuinness said. “But it was a good challenge, I really enjoyed it. It was great to get back on the grass and playing football again, because at the end of the day that’s what I’m here for.

“I’ll have a bit of a sore head tomorrow morning! But that’s part of the job, you know, that’s what I love – heading and clearing. That’s the job, clean sheet, so I’ll go away and that’s my job done.”

Of course, what McGuinness wants now is a run of games. With Ipswich keeping their first clean sheet in three games with him in the team, he’s made a good case for himself to start this weekend.

“Hopefully we can build on this, and hopefully I’ll be involved again and just get the 90 minutes again,” the defender continued. “It’s all about playing games and getting on the pitch, so hopefully I can get another 90 on Saturday.”

The fans certainly seemed to enjoy his performance, posting almost universally positive responses to Ipswich’s tweet about the player’s debut:

  • “Great composure tonight. Never was worried about another catastrophic mistake.”
  • “Great debut! Didn’t look out of place and a clean sheet!”
  • “Looks like there’s a partnership there that could grow.”
  • “Good performance on his debut.”
  • “Absolutely cracking debut… my MOTM.”