Diallo set to return

DRISSA Diallo looks all set to solve Joe Royle's defensive crisis for Saturday's FA Cup tie against Sunderland at Portman Road.Centre-half Diallo was injured in Town's home match against Wimbledon in September and he hasn't completed a full game for the first team in four months.

DRISSA Diallo looks all set to solve Joe Royle's defensive crisis for Saturday's FA Cup tie against Sunderland at Portman Road, writes David Vincent.

Centre-half Diallo was injured in Town's home match against Wimbledon in September and he hasn't completed a full game for the first team in four months.

But yesterday he put in a full 90 minutes, in Town's 1-0 reserve win over Coventry City, at the Town training centre at Rushmere.

Reserves manager Steve McCall said: "Drissa did well and looked more comfortable than he did last week.


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"It was difficult for the forwards with not too many chances created but overall a good 90 minutes for us and a pleasing win."

Diallo seemed to grow in confidence as the game progressed in the rain on a wet pitch and won some towering headers.

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And he headed one goal-bound effort off the Ipswich line as Coventry pressed in vain for an equaliser.

The winning goal for a young Ipswich team came after 34 minutes and was scored by Daniel Flack. Sam Morrow, who formed a dangerous partnership with Dean Bowditch, worked his way into the penalty area and hit a fierce shot that Coventry keeper Scott Shearer could only parry and Flack scored.

Diallo made his long-awaited return to the first team, from the bench, in Saturday's amazing 6-4 win over Crewe, arriving after 56 minutes in the place of Chris Bart-Williams.

Georges Santos missed yesterday's reserve game following a badly twisted ankle so Town boss Joe Royle might only have Diallo and Richard Naylor available to fill the centre-half positions against Sunderland if John McGreal doesn't make it. He has been troubled by a sore back since Monday.

Royle said they would look at McGreal in training again tomorrow.

Jim Magilton and Chris Bart-Williams should be able to resume training today.

"Drissa should be in consideration for Saturday but with only two-and-a-half reserve games he could probably do with a bit more," said Royle.

"Georges Santos is a bit better now but looks like missing two weeks."

Ipswich Town Reserves: Marshall, Mitchell, Barron, Manning (Smith), Diallo, Collins, Flack, Kamara, Morrow, Bowditch and Boardley. Unused subs: Peat, Craig and Atay.

* Former Ipswich Town star Kevin O'Callaghan has parted company with Millwall, where he was U19 academy coach, after eight years coaching there.

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