Bent an injury doubt for England

DARREN Bent's joy at being called up for the England Under-21 squad to face Turkey on Friday looks likely to be short-lived, writes Derek Davis.The Town striker missed Saturday's Division One 2-1 win over Rotherham with a knee injury and is now doubtful to join up with David Platt's national squad.

DARREN Bent's joy at being called up for the England Under-21 squad to face Turkey on Friday looks likely to be short-lived, writes Derek Davis.

The Town striker missed Saturday's Division One 2-1 win over Rotherham with a knee injury and is now doubtful to join up with David Platt's national squad.

Bent is suffering from anterior ligament damage, on the outside of his left knee and has swelling around the joint.

Blues boss Joe Royle admitted he will not have the striker available to him for Town's visit to Bradford City on Saturday. He said: "Darren was meant to join up with England this week but he is still struggling with a knee injury. We will have to see what happens there but either way we will be without him on Saturday."


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Although England can no longer qualify for the Under-21 European Champ-ionships in Portugal next summer, it would still have been a feather in Bent's international cap to play a competitive fixture for England and an interesting experience to play in Beskitas, Turkey.

Town are fortunate not to lose another striker to international duty after Shefki Kuqi asked Finland coach Antti Muurinen's permission to miss their friendly with Canada in Tampere on Saturday.

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He said: "I feel it is important for me to be here with Ipswich right now."

Town are on something of a roll now with four wins in five league games and Kuqi wants to be involved against Bradford after helping Ipswich to victory over Rotherham United.

Town striker Pablo Counago scored twice on Saturday, once from the penalty spot after an earlier appeal had been turned down. Rotherham had a penalty shout waved away and had two players dismissed. Kuqi said: "It was a hard game as they just came to get a point. But we did well to pass the ball and keep the ball until we scored. In the end we deserved the three points.

"Pablo deserved his goals, while their goal was a bit fortunate when Butler diverted a shot in. It was a bit controversial at times with the penalty incidents and the referee had no choice in the red cards."

Town escaped any further injuries in the win and are hoping Chris Makin and Tommy Miller will come back from their lay-offs in the next fortnight.

Martijn Reuser, John McGreal and Drissa Diallo are longer-term problems.

Not many of the Town first-team squad are expected to be involved for the reserves against Charlton's second string on Wednesday at Portman Road.

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