Bent ready to return

DARREN Bent will get the nod over Dean Bowditch tonight unless he fails a fitness test this morning.The Blues striker, who strained a hamstring after scoring in England Under-21s' 2-0 win over Lewis Price's Wales 11 days ago and missed Town's 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday, is confident of playing.

By Derek Davis

DARREN Bent will get the nod over Dean Bowditch tonight unless he fails a fitness test this morning.

The Blues striker, who strained a hamstring after scoring in England Under-21s' 2-0 win over Lewis Price's Wales 11 days ago and missed Town's 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday, is confident of playing.

He said: “It is feeling really good. The stiffness has virtually gone and as long as I get through the test I will be okay to play.”


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Town manager Joe Royle said: “If he is fit he will play. I'm hopeful rather than certain.”

Fabian Wilnis could nudge aside Saturday's goal hero Matt Richards at left-back after returning from a three-match ban but Price will keep his place in goal.

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Kelvin Davis has made slower than expected progress from a strained ligament in his back but could get a work-out for Town reserves down at Charlton tomorrow.

Canadian skipper Jason De Vos will ignore the pain of a fractured toe to line-up and Royle added: “The toe is still swollen but as long as he can get his boot on he will play.”

For the second game in succession Royle will be coming up against a player who chose to go elsewhere, after Chris Makin followed John McGreal in rejecting a contract offer with Town.

Royle said: “Again I didn't want Chris to go but he preferred an unpaid trial at Leicester rather than a paid trial here to prove his fitness.

“He is a good lad, who I have known since he was a 10-year-old as he played in the same school team as my lad, and he is a good player.”

As is quite common with Ipswich, they meet a side who have recently changed managers, and Royle believes City will climb the table.

He said: “Leicester have not started as well as they would have liked but with the sheer strength of their squad they will be up there.

“They have virtually two teams and you will see the difference on the benches, but I do believe our best XI is as good, if not better, than anything so we hope to get the chance to prove me right.”

While the Blues boss will look to use Bent's pace and hope the midfield can control the play, he isn't expecting Dave Bassett to adopt the same pretty footballing style.

He said: “There will be a contrast in styles. They had something like nine six foot-plus players on Saturday, and I'm told even the ball boys are taller than six foot.

“They could have probably the biggest wide midfielders you have ever seen in (James) Scowcroft and (Trevor) Benjamin.

“But, at the same time, you must respect they have good players who have played in the Premiership.

“So it will be down to us to get the ball down and play.”

Teenager Aidan Collins keeps his place on the bench but Jerrome Sobers and Antonio Murray will drop out.

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