Clarke likely to miss Leeds clash

IPSWICH teenager Billy Clarke is doubtful for Saturday's visit of Leeds after undergoing a scan on his ankle injury.The five-goal striker, who celebrates his 19th birthday today, aggravated the problem in the 2-2 draw at Cardiff and the scan revealed he is suffering from bone bruising.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH teenager Billy Clarke is doubtful for Saturday's visit of Leeds after undergoing a scan on his ankle injury.

The five-goal striker, who celebrates his 19th birthday today, aggravated the problem in the 2-2 draw at Cardiff and the scan revealed he is suffering from bone bruising.

Town boss Jim Magilton said: “Billy was a bit tentative and sore. Fitness-wise he's not where he was - or where he wants to be - so we needed the answers that we knew the scan would provide.”


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Clarke has been absent from three of Town's last seven games and Magilton added: “There's no doubt that Billy is still struggling a little bit with his ankle. He's getting some pain so we needed to know exactly how it was.

“We were hoping the scan would clear up any doubt in his mind and give him the reassurance he needs, but while it is not a serious injury he is sitting out training and we will re-assess the situation later in the week.

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“It is fair to say, however, that he is doubtful for the Leeds game and it might be that he will benefit from a rest at the weekend.”

Despite encouraging signs at Cardiff, where they twice levelled to earn a point, Ipswich have only registered one win in their last eight Championship outings.

Even if Clarke recovers sufficiently to come into contention, Magilton is faced with a selection dilemma for what will be the first game staged on the newly-relaid Portman Road pitch.

Top scorer Alan Lee is available again after missing the clash with former club Cardiff through suspension and is odds-on to reclaim his place in attack.

But Magilton must decide whether on-loan Jon Macken, who was on target at Ninian Park, Danny Haynes or, fitness permitting, Clarke partners the Republic of Ireland international.

The Town boss said: “Alan will be working very hard in training this week after his day off and this is the sort of selection problem that any manager would welcome.

“Both Jon and Danny did well for us at Cardiff, as well as Billy when he came on, so it's a lovely problem to have.

“We'll welcome Alan back - he has done well for us this season - and I've got a few days to think about the starting line-up.”

Town's new pitch has been in place since the weekend, with Magilton and his senior squad due to train on it tomorrow.

Magilton said: “Alan Ferguson, the head groundsman, seems very, very happy with it and I think he's sleeping a lot sounder these days.

“I am absolutely delighted that we found the funds to do it and now we can't wait to get out there and play on it.”

mel.henderson@archant.co.uk

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