Bart-Williams could return soon

CHARLTON boss Alan Curbishley is likely to recall Chris Bart-Williams in a fortnight's time, thus adding to Ipswich Town's player shortage.

CHARLTON boss Alan Curbishley is likely to recall Chris Bart-Williams in a fortnight's time, thus adding to Ipswich Town's player shortage, writes Derek Davis.

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest midfielder was originally taken on a month's loan by Ipswich but it is unlikely that he will extend his service past the four-week period as Charlton are short on players too.

The Blues are already hamstrung with injury problems, compounded by Alan Mahon going off with a thigh strain in the Carling Cup defeat at Notts County on Tuesday.

The Republic of Ireland international is due to have a scan today to assess the extent of the injury and is rated doubtful for the trip to Watford on Saturday.

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Matt Richards was also forced off feeling giddy after getting an elbow in the face by Magpies' winger Simon Baldry but was last night feeling fine and will be available.

Darren Bent will receive more treatment on a knee injury today and no decision will be made on his fitness until Saturday morning.

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Definitely out are Tommy Miller, Chris Makin, Drissa Diallo, Martijn Reuser and John McGreal, who are more long-term casualties.

Physio Dave Williams and assistant Matt Byard will earn their corn as manager Joe Royle looks to continue the winning run against teams beginning with W.

After losing to front-runners Wigan, West Ham and West Brom, Town have beaten Walsall and Wimbledon with Watford coming up on Saturday.

Royle is hoping to have at least one new loan signing in before Saturday. Clubs are allowed four short-term loan signings and eight in total at any one time, but the other four must be season-long signings under the age of 24.

After failing in his bid to land striker Duncan Ferguson, Royle has been linked with Charlton's Kevin Lisbie and West Brom's Daniele Dichio but he may also look at trying to attract a defender or midfielder.

Town should have the services of Bart-Williams for the trips to Watford, Sunderland and Bradford and at home to Rotherham before he would go back.

Premiership side Charlton are running short of players themselves, with former Town skipper Matt Holland playing in midfield, left-back and right-back at varying times during their fortunate Carling Cup penalties victory over Luton Town.

Curbishley said: "Tuesday night showed how stretched we are at the moment. Some players looked really tired."

The Ipswich Town Academy, sponsored by the EADT, provided half of the 16-man first-team squad on Tuesday and 15 for last night's reserve-team game against Wimbledon at Portman Road. Only former Ajax trainee Nabil Abidallah did not come through the Blues' youth ranks, although he joined as a teenager.

While Ipswich are looking a little threadbare, Hornets boss Ray Lewington has signed Tottenham defender Stephen Kelly on a one-month loan and he goes straight into Saturday's squad.

Lewington allowed former Town defender Wayne Brown to go out on loan to Gillingham last week and has sold striker Tommy Smith.

But struggling Watford lost to Bristol City on Tuesday and have slipped down the table and should be ripe for the taking by Ipswich.

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