Changes afoot for Town

IT'S not quite in the way Claudio Ranieri used to use the squad rotation system, but Joe Royle will ring the changes for the Blues' Carling Cup clash at home to Brentford tomorrow.

IT'S not quite in the way Claudio Ranieri used to use the squad rotation system, but Joe Royle will ring the changes for the Blues' Carling Cup clash at home to Brentford tomorrow.

Scott Barron and Lewis Price are almost definite starters while Scott Mitchell and Antonio Murray could well be elevated, depending on how the physio's room looks this morning.

With Jason De Vos definitely not involved, 18-year-old Jerome Sobers has a chance of making the senior squad for the first time.

Preston-born Barron, who has been with the club since he was aged 11, is expected to make his debut at full-back, with Drissa Diallo shuffling across into central defence and Fabian Wilnis going to right back.

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Left-footed Barron, who will be 19 in 10 days' time, has been an unused substitute three time this season and is ready for the start after being so close to a call-up last season.

Price, who made his Under-21 debut for Wales last week and is in the squad for their European Championship campaign starting next month, will get a rare first-team outing for Ipswich, allowing Kelvin Davis a quiet day.

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The young keeper made his Town debut in the win at Gillingham last season when Davis was ill. Royle said: "Those two are very much in my mind and we will see about some of the others after training."

The Blues' boss was delighted with his side's 3-1 win over Cardiff, and the way the whole team raised their performances, especially winning the midfield battle.

Darren Bent's opener should have set them on their way, but an Alan Lee equaliser from a mistake briefly allowed City back in the game. Then Tommy Miller and Ian Westlake made runs from midfield to give Town the 3-1 win.

Royle said: "We have got good midfielders at this club and the second and third goals were a delight.

"They had a great build-up and great finishes. Darren's was good at the beginning, but their equaliser took the shine off it a little.

"We passed it well and confidence was high. Mind you, we needed to have a better performance after the Derby game, when we were half a degree away from abysmal.

"We looked dead solid and had not given them a sniff, Alan Lee cost a lot of money and Rob Earnshaw may go for a lot of money, and we gave them nothing except the one slip.

"We have given them a goal and I wondered 'oh no what have we done' but we roared back, played some good stuff to score three again and we could have had six.

"We played well – not as outstandingly well as we can do when we are a flair side, although there were some great passing moves at times, but we handled Cardiff very well and stopped Graham Kavanagh creating things for them.

"Barring one mistake, that was our best defensive performance overall – it was probably our best for a while."

The flow of the first half was spoiled somewhat by a pernickity referee who, in keeping with FIFA regulations, ordered Richard Naylor to change his shirt as there was blood on it and then would not allow Kevin Horlock to stay on until claret had stopped flowing from a split lip.

Royle added: "There is one silly rule a year that comes out. Still, it keeps someone in a job somewhere."

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