Diallo targets third title

DRISSA Diallo is looking towards clinching a unique hat-trick as table-topping Town take on Leicester City today, writes Derek Davis.The Mauritania-born Guinea international, with French parents, won two Belgian championships when he was with Mechelen and helped them to promotion.

DRISSA Diallo is looking towards clinching a unique hat-trick as table-topping Town take on Leicester City today, writes Derek Davis.

The Mauritania-born Guinea international, with French parents, won two Belgian championships when he was with Mechelen and helped them to promotion.

With more than 20 games under his belt this season, Diallo has already played a part in helping Ipswich to their third promotion in 13 years and capturing his third title.

Diallo said: "There is a programme in France which says 'never two without a third' and I hope that will be the case for me now. There is still a long way to go but we have the squad to do it and I hope I will be able to play my part again.

The defender misses out on playing against the senior squad at Portman Road this afternoon, but he will take a big step in challenging for a first-team return when he faces the Foxes second string on Monday (kick-off 2pm at Bent Lane).

Diallo has recovered from a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of action since mid-December.

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He said: "I'm a little apprehensive about the game but I'm also really looking forward to it. Once the whistle goes, I'm sure it will be fine and I will look forward to getting through the game without any problems."

The 32-year-old accepts getting back in the starting XI is not going to be easy but is convinced he, among others on the fringe at the moment, will be called on.

He said: "Before the end of the season, everyone will be needed at some point. You have seen how an injury and a suspension together means chances for other players and there is a long way to go yet, so the whole squad will be important."

When he has not been flogged relentlessly by fitness coach Simon Thadani, Diallo has been helping Monaco loanee Jimmy Juan settle in and interpreting for the Frenchman.

Diallo spent four months on the sidelines last season with a knee injury, so it has been a little easier this time, knowing what to expect.

He said: "It was a different type of injury and less time out but it was still extremely frustrating.

"Simon has been very good and has helped me a lot. It is not easy to train on your own and he has been there with me helping me.

"It is good to be able to help Jimmy too, it is always good to have another Frenchman at the club."

Juan and Diallo apart, Blues boss Joe Royle has a full squad to choose from once more but the only possible change is likely to be in midfield, if he decides to bring back Kevin Horlock after he missed out at Sheffield United.

As expected, Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi are fine, while Dean Bowditch waits patiently for a chance.

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