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TEAM NEWS: No injury problems for Ipswich as Danny Higginbotham leaves Town

PUBLISHED: 14:28 31 December 2012 | UPDATED: 15:19 31 December 2012

Danny Higginbotham

Danny Higginbotham

Copyright Ashley Pickering

Ipswich v Brighton: Mick McCarthy has a fully-fit squad to choose from for tomorrow’s visit of Brighton.

The one exception is Stoke City loan defender Danny Higginbotham who has backtracked on initial plans to sign an extended deal at Portman Road.

McCarthy revealed that the experienced stopper, benched in recent weeks, is set to join an unnamed club on loan, with a view to a permanent deal.

That leaves the Blues with the precarious scenario of having just two recognised centre-backs in their squad – Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith.

While McCarthy looks to rectify that as quickly as possible, he will be wanting to end Town’s impressive festive programme with three points at Portman Road.

While two back-to-back away wins would have taken their toll, McCarthy is considering whether to name an unchanged side for the sixth consecutive match.

He said: “Andy Liddell (Town’s fitness coach) and the players themselves should be given a mention. They have kept themselves fit and been remarkable.

“The dilemma is whether I think they might have run out of legs while Brighton have had a game less.

“I could change it, something goes wrong, and I would regret it. Or I could keep it the same, something goes wrong, and I regret it. You will find out tomorrow.”

Speaking on Higginbotham, he added: “I don’t think he’s going to stay, I think he’s going to go elsewhere.

“We’d hoped to extend it, but it was always on the understanding that if something better came along – not necessarily a better club, but something geographically better and a club where he would be playing – then we would let him go with our blessing.

“There is nothing I can do about that, it’s his choice. I’ll be looking to strengthen that area of the team.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full match preview.

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