Diallo relishing clash with old pal

DRISSA Diallo is hoping to get the opportunity to lock horns with Gillingham's Ian Cox today, writes Derek Davis.The duo were team-mates at Burnley and are still close friends and are looking forward to clashing at the Priestfield.

DRISSA Diallo is hoping to get the opportunity to lock horns with Gillingham's Ian Cox today, writes Derek Davis.

The duo were team-mates at Burnley and are still close friends and are looking forward to clashing at the Priestfield.

For Diallo it would mean a return to first-team action but he admits it will be difficult for him to force his way into the starting line-up.

Even being on the bench this afternoon would be good going for the Frenchman, who was left out of the 16 which beat Sunderland on Monday.


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Diallo started at right-back against Rotherham to give Fabian Wilnis a shake-up but was replaced at half-time as Town came from behind to win at Millmoor.

He suffered on Monday as boss Joe Royle looked for as much versatility on the bench as he could.

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Richard Naylor can play as centre-back or centre-forward, and Georges Santos can also play at the back or in midfield. He came on for the last few minutes on Monday, replacing Jim Magilton as Town blocked things up down the middle.

Town didn't need a third central defender so Diallo missed out.

He has been named in the squad of 17 today and hopes to be involved after playing well enough in the reserves on Wednesday

He said: “There is a lot of competition for places, which is good for the team. It is disappointing when you don't play but that is football. You have to get on with it and be ready for when you are called upon.”

His old partner at Burnley is bound to start today and Diallo said: “I spoke to him earlier in the week and they are really up for this game. They had a good win over Walsall and need to beat us to help stay up. They probably need two wins to survive so let us hope one of them is not against us.”

With the exception of Chris Makin, who has targeted next season for a return, Ipswich are almost at full strength.

Pablo Counago continues to recover from a hamstring pull, although a slight groin strain hampered his comeback and he will hope to be involved for the reserves next week.

Chris Bart-Williams played 90 minutes for the reserves on Wednesday after an epidural to sort out a back problem and will be spending this weekend working on furthering his fitness.

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