Barron could get first-team chance

YET another of Ipswich Town's prolific Academy could be in line for a first-team debut as Joe Royle ponders a potential full-back shortage, writes Derek Davis.

YET another of Ipswich Town's prolific Academy could be in line for a first-team debut as Joe Royle ponders a potential full-back shortage, writes Derek Davis.

Scott Barron, an 18-year-old left-sided reserve-teamer, will look to give the manager food for thought when the second string travel to Milton Keynes tonight to meet Wimbledon.

With Matt Richards a doubt for Saturday's home game with Crewe Alexandra, at Portman Road, due to a hamstring problem and Fabian Wilnis suspended, Royle will need to have a shuffle around at the back.

While Jermaine Wright, who plays his 200th game for Ipswich, could once more revert to the right-back position against his old club as cover for Wilnis, there is no obvious replacement for Richards.

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With Georges Santos and Drissa Diallo available, along with John McGreal and Richard Naylor, Town have not been so well off for centre-backs all season. That could prompt Royle to go to three centre-backs using Martijn Reuser or Ian Westlake along with Wright as wing-backs.

Another option for Royle would be to bring in a loan player. The EADT revealed earlier this month that Town had shown an interest in England defender Chris Powell, who is looking to move away from Charlton, but they are reluctant to allow him to leave at the moment.

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Royle last week said he had enquired about a couple of players from Premiership clubs but did not expect much to happen until the latter part of the transfer window when they had sorted out their own needs.

Alternatively, he could use Westlake as a left-back or give a debut to Barron, who has been outstanding in that position for the reserves this season.

The youngster picked up a slight ankle knock himself in training yesterday and will have more treatment this morning.

Preston-born Barron, who was unearthed by Malcolm Moore, joined Ipswich as an 11-year-old and was initially coached by Kevin Ellis.

Although of slight build, the former Cambridgeshire youth player is a good tackler, quick on the break and reads the game well. After playing regularly for all age levels up until the under-19s as an attacking left-sided midfielder, Barron was converted earlier this season to great effect.

Chris Makin, who has moved from right-back to left-back, continues a steady progress to full fitness following an operation to free a trapped nerve near his hip, but is still a couple of weeks away from full training.

Darren Bent continues to be another injury doubt with a sore ankle but Jim Magilton and Kelvin Davis are expected to train as normal tomorrow.

Andy Marshall, Dean Bowditch and Georges Santos join fit-again Drissa Diallo in tonight's squad for the game at the National Hockey Stadium at Milton Keynes, which kicks off at 7pm.

Probable Wimbledon squad: Worgan, Kamara, Puncheon, McKoy, Gier, Oyedele, Jarrett Deacons, Tapp, Mackie, Gordon, Hardin,. Slater, D Martin, E'Beyer and Makofo.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Marshall, Okay, Boardley, Collins, Diallo, Santos, Abidallah, Mitchell, Morrow, Bowditch, Barron, Manning, Flack, Peat, Craig, Smith and Krause.

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