INJURY NEWS: Veteran striker Alan Lee will be on the bench against QPR

Alan Lee

Alan Lee - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v QPR: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy will name veteran striker Alan Lee on the bench for tomorrow’s Championship visit of QPR due to the fact that Daryl Murphy and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake are both injured.

Lee scored 35 goals in 109 appearances for the Blues between 2006 and 2008, rejoining the club last summer primarily as a youth team coach at the age of 35. He was registered on non-contract playing terms though and has been training with the first team in case of a shortage of numbers at any stage.

That scenario has now arisen, with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake set for a three to four weeks spell on the sidelines with the hamstring injury he sustained in last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Preston in the FA Cup and Daryl Murphy to miss the next two matches with a thigh strain.

McCarthy tried to sign Peterborough target man Tyrone Barnett on loan last week, but League One club Bristol City beat them to the deal due to the fact they were willing to commit to a ‘with view to a permanent signing’ clause.

Goalkeeper Dean Gerken and centre-back Tommy Smith have both recovered from the minor knocks which kept them out last weekend (groin and back respectively), but midfielder Anthony Wordsworth has been laid low by tonsillitis.

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It means that Mccarthy – who has used the fewest players in the Championship this season (22) – has just 16 fit outfield players to call upon tomorrow, with academy youngsters Kyle Hammond (right-back) and Byron Lawrence (midfield) on stand-by.

“Sylvan will be three or four weeks,” said McCarthy, when asked about the new signing, whose comeback game (after nine months out with a broken leg / ankle ligament damage) lasted just 28 minutes last weekend.

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“We’ll have to be patient with him. The injury is his hamstring, it’s nothing to do with his ankle, but we’ll need to rehab him properly and make sure that doesn’t happen again when he starts playing.

“Murph is not available, he’s got a thigh strain. He’ll train on Monday. Whether or not Tuesday (FA Cup replay at Preston) comes too quick I don’t know. He has been outstanding, he’s been almost ever-present and has a great season so far. I don’t want to lose him for longer. I’d rather he misses Saturday and Tuesday and then have him back firing again (for the visit of Millwall).

“Al (Alan Lee) is on the bench tomorrow. He just impresses me as a bloke, I like him. He’s great around the place, he’s been great in training, he does what he needs to do and if I need him tomorrow he’ll be fine.

“I wouldn’t put him on if he couldn’t still do a job.”

Asked about his interest in Tyrone Barnett – revealed by Peterborough director of football barry Fry yesterday – McCarthy said: “He’s gone to Bristol City hasn’t he? Hypothetical chats on anybody aren’t worth my voice really.

“Murph will be fit be fit again next weekend and I’ll have four strikers. I won’t be getting any loan cover for them.

“In the defence is where I need cover. I’ve got five defenders and they’ve been remarkable. Cressie (Aaron Cresswell), (Luke) Chambers, Christophe (Berra) and Tommy (Smith) have played most of the games, while Tyrone Mings is cover for left-back, right-back, centre-back!”

Asked if there was a possibility of any outgoing loans or transfers during the January transfer window, McCarthy said: “Woody (Anthony Wordsworth) going out on loan is a possibility because he wants to play games, but that’s not going to happen at the moment because he’s struggling with tonsillitis and was really ill after the game last weekend.

“That’s a possibility, but I’d only do that if I could bring somebody else in.

“Tomorrow I’ve got 16 outfield players, that’s me, that’s the squad I’ve got. We’ve used less players than anyone else, I’ve got a squad of 18 tomorrow, plus Byron Lawrence and Kyle Hammond to beef it up in case anyone rings in and says they are poorly.”

On young wingers Jordan Adekunle and Jack Doherty, both summer signings, he said: “They are nowhere near the first team.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT for full match preview.

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