Happy problems for Joe

JOE Royle happily faces a selection dilemma for Saturday as he ponders which strike-force to use in a bid to blunt The Blades.With Pablo Counago ruled out, Royle has to decide who to choose up front or even which combination.

JOE Royle happily faces a selection dilemma for Saturday as he ponders which strike-force to use in a bid to blunt The Blades.

With Pablo Counago ruled out, Royle has to decide who to choose up front or even which combination.

With Alun Armstrong and Dean Bowditch looking a formidable partnership in the reserves, Town could go for a new look up front.

But Shefki Kuqi has done nothing to warrant being dropped so it could be who is best suited along with him.


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Speedy Darren Bent headed in the equaliser against Derby after returning from injury, while Bowditch has hit five in two games for the second string and Armstrong followed his hat-trick against a young Nottingham Forest side with a goal in the 6-1 win over Fulham last week.

Or the Blues could even go three up front against Sheffield United.

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Blues boss Royle said: "We will have to wait and see until after the reserve game to see who is fit. It is good to have a choice but at the moment I'm not even sure what formation we will be playing so I may use three up front.

"The two lads have been doing very well in the reserves but Darren came back and scored so they are all in with a chance."

Royle's conundrum may be eased slightly if any of the growing number of sides interested in Armstrong make a move for the fit and fighting forward.

At the back John McGreal continues to make steady progress even though he limped out of training early with a minor gash on a shin after being caught by Bent.

But Royle said: "John has been making good steady progress so this is a minor set back. We will see how he is but hopefully he should be alright to play for the reserves."

Town will also have Richard Naylor back after suspension, along with midfielder Chris Bart-Williams.

Alan Mahon missed training yesterday with a flu bug but is hopeful of joining in again today.

Steve McCall's side will be looking for their fourth win in a row after victories over Watford, Nottingham Forest and Fulham.

They have netted 14 goals in those three games and the only change from last week's squad is Nabil Abidallah returning after a flu bug to replace Matt Bloomfield who picked up an injury in the 6-1 win over Fulham.

With such a large squad at their disposal Pompey are likely to figure some big names.

Mark Burchill scored in their reserves' draw with Arsenal last week after returning from a loan spell with Wigan and may partner Lee Bradbury or Jason Roberts.

The former Scotland international enjoyed a loan spell at Portman Road while trying to get away from Celtic.

Dutch keeper Harald Wapenaar, who made more than 150 appearances for FC Utrecht, will be the custodian, with fit-again Linvoy Primus expected to make another step towards the first team and impressive young defender Matt Taylor also penciled in.

Ipswich Town reserves: Price, Hogg, Barron, Mitchell, McGreal, Collins, Reuser, Abidallah, Armstrong, Bowditch, Flack, Morrow, Supple, Synott, Atay, Manning.

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