Adam Webster won’t be rushed back to action, while Kundai Benyu is back in the first-team fold
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is hopeful that Adam Webster will only be sidelined for one game, but says he won’t rush the centre-back back to action if he’s not ready.
The 21-year-old suffered a hamstring injury late in the 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday prior to the recent international break and is definitely ruled out of Saturday’s televised Championship clash with Nottingham Forest at Portman Road (5.30pm, Sky Sports).
Town’s next game is the visit of QPR on Saturday, November 26.
“It’s a blow for him and a blow for the rest of us because he has been excellent,” said McCarthy. “I was just talking to him this morning and I said that. I think it needs to be said sometimes.
“He’s having a bit of a down moment because he’s not fit and he can’t play on Saturday but I just reminded him of how good he has been and to just get back and make sure he’s ready to go.
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“We’re hoping he’ll have a chance for QPR but there’s no way in the world I’m going to risk him with a hamstring and I won’t be pushing that way.
“I’d love him to be fit but there’s a timescale to everything and hamstrings, if you come back and you damage it again it can be six weeks out. There’s a feeling he’ll be okay (for QPR) but I’m not going to be pushing him.”
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McCarthy confirmed that Josh Emmanuel will return at right-back, with skipper Luke Chambers moving to Webster’s place at the centre of the defence, while the quartet of David McGoldrick, Jonny Williams, Tom Lawrence and Christophe Berra have returned from international action in good shape.
“Bez (Berra) played at Wembley (for Scotland), while Didzy (McGoldrick) got 20 minutes (for Ireland) – that’s a lovely sign for him that they want him and around the team, certainly that they’d be prepared to play him.
“They’ve all come back pretty well enthused. There are lots of players who go away regularly and never get a game. Christophe’s been like that; we’ve all teased him about getting a signed shirt, one that’s been played in!
“Well, he’s got it now and he got it playing at Wembley, despite the result. I’ve looked at it and his performance was fine. I thought that was a fitting reward for his performances this season because he’s been terrific.
“I felt for Tom Lawrence and Jonny Williams with their result (Serbia equalising against Wales in the last minute). I’ve been there. They’d just hit the post and they go up and scored.
“Tom came on and had 20 minutes and I thought he did well and Jonny’s come back and trained, he’s ready to play now, we’ve got some good players back ready to play.”
McCarthy says young midfielder Kundai Benyu could be in the matchday 20 for the first time this season – and the first time in the Championship since 2014/15 – having impressed in the Under-23s on Monday, when he scored a brilliant free-kick.
Benyu revealed after that game he had apologised to McCarthy for an ‘attitude problem’ that had held back his career.
“He’s been terrific, I’ve been delighted with him,” said McCarthy. “He really needed to apologise.
“I’m not precious about myself, but he needed to apologise for the way he had been behaving, to me, to everybody, just because he was letting himself down as a player.
“And he’s been great, he came back, I said ‘fine, good’, he apologised, I said that was great, I shook his hand and said ‘crack on, we’ll get back’.
“He’s training with us more often than not now, he trained with us this morning and he’ll probably be in the squad for the 20 on Saturday.
“And I’m thrilled because he’s a good player. Nobody doubts his ability, but I won’t have the tail wagging the dog wherever I go, don’t worry about that.”
Regarding his longer term injured players, McCarthy says striker Brett Pitman is progressing having suffered an ankle injury at Leeds at the end of October.
“Whatever his timeline was, I think he’s about seven or eight weeks into 12 weeks, that’s what it’ll be,” he added.
“If we can nick a few days or a week off it and get him back sooner that’ll be brilliant, but injuries do have a time when they heal. He’s on course, he’s probably in front of what we thought it would be if anything.”
McCarthy says midfielder Luke Hyam is also making progress having undergone knee surgery which is expected to keep him out until early December.
“He’s far more positive about himself and his recovery,” he said. “It’s not going to happen tomorrow but he’s far more positive about it and if he’s feeling more positive it’ll heal quicker.”
Centre-half Tommy Smith underwent back surgery shortly before Hyam went under the knife when he was also pencilled in for a return at the start of December.
“Tommy doesn’t like being a patient but he’s a fabulous patient because he does everything correctly and everything they ask of him,” McCarthy continued.
“He’s doing it and he again would probably be in front of his expected return for his rehab. He’s a really good pro.”