POPULAR centre half Luke Woolfenden will remain at Swindon Town for the remainder of the season, though parent club Ipswich Town have the right to recall the youngster at any time should they require his services.

Woolfenden returned to East Anglia this week to allow Ipswich boss Paul Lambert – who replaced Paul Hurst in October – the opportunity to judge the 20-year-old for the first time.

Sitting bottom of the Championship with only 15 points from 26 games, Ipswich face an uphill struggle to avoid relegation to League One.

However, Lambert does not yet feel Woolfenden’s presence at Portman Road right now will benefit his career best – instead allowing him to make a return to the County Ground until the end of the season.

But Swindon boss Richie Wellens could lose his resolute defender at any time due his parent club’s recall clause, and Lambert has been impressed by Woolfenden’s attributes.

He told the East Anglian Daily Times: “I’ve watched him in training during the last couple of days but I have to be fair to Swindon as well, because they were playing him.

“Luke’s going back to Swindon, but I also have the option to bring him back before the end of the window if I feel I need him.

“In time I think he will be a very good player. He has the stature to be a very good defender but he’s still a kid in football terms.”

Meanwhile Swindon boss Richie Wellens briefed a sigh of relief upon hearing news that Woolfenden was allowed to make a return to the County Ground, especially amid stalled talks to draft Sid Nelson back into the squad from Millwall.

Wellens insists the Ipswich-born defender has progressed well since the turn of December, and he’s keen to make him a key part of the squad as Town push for a League Two play-off spot.

Wellens said: “He went back to Ipswich on Tuesday and Wednesday and trained, just because Paul Lambert had never seen him, so he had a good look at him.

“Luckily for us they have allowed him to stay. I think his progression has been really good in the last six or seven weeks and we want to keep him.

“His attributes physically are tremendous for a centre-back, he is so quick and defend one-on-one.

“I would like him to be more physical, look for the first contact against centre-forwards and be dominant, but that is part of his process in terms of him developing into the player he is going to be.”