Injury worries for East Anglian rivals

WITH Alun Armstrong's injured wrist confirmed as a fracture, Ipswich Town are struggling for strikers ahead of the big derby clash with Norwich City, writes Derek Davis.

WITH Alun Armstrong's injured wrist confirmed as a fracture, Ipswich Town are struggling for strikers ahead of the big derby clash with Norwich City, writes Derek Davis.

Not that the Canaries are faring any better, with 10 of their first-team squad either suspended or injured.

Blues boss Joe Royle last night admitted 16-year-old Dean Bowditch was in his thoughts ahead of the Carrow Road clash.

Armstrong fell awkwardly moments before half-time in Town Reserves' defeat against Derby and will be out for at least a month after a fracture to a wrist was confirmed.

Marcus Bent is working on being fit in time after pulling up in training with a hamstring tweak, Richard Naylor was last night in bed with a virus, while Pablo Counago is frustratingly kicking his heels midway through a suspension.

Royle, himself struggling with a chest cold, said: "It is not impossible that young Dean will be involved. It depends a lot on how Marcus and Richard come on but it is too early to tell at this stage."

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Chris Makin was another who didn't train yesterday while John McGreal is still struggling.

There was better news for Mark Venus, who is recovering nicely after his knee operation but is still three or four weeks away from playing.

In goal, Andy Marshall is considered firm favourite to start against his old club while James Pullen is big enough and good enough to live to fight another day.

Injuries and sickness are not confined to players with chairman David Sheepshanks taking to his bed with a virus.

Norwich could be without up to 10 of their first-team squad for Sunday's clash and 18-year-old Academy star Dean Sinclair could make his home debut.

The Canaries will be without defenders Malky Mackay and Steen Nedegaard, who are both suspended.

Loanee David Healy, who Norwich claim to have made a bid for, although Preston deny receiving one, strained a hamstring on Tuesday night and is a major doubt.

The Northern Ireland international will be a big miss for City and the defeat at Gillingham could well turn out to be his last game for them.

Sturdy midfielder Gary Holt has a groin strain and after going 88 games without so much as missing a minute, the ball-winner will leave a big void in their midfield.

Also doubtful is Irish international Phil Mulryne, who has a suspect back, while Darel Russell and Neil Emblen are definite non-starters with injured ankles.

Also on the injury list is ex-Manchester United youngster Alex Notman who has still not recovered from the whack his ankle took while blocking a vicious Mark Venus free-kick in the derby game at Portman Road last September.

Worthington may now be considering the wisdom of allowing Chris Llewellyn to go on loan to Bristol Rovers, where he managed to score on his debut last Saturday.

Unless Worthington gets a couple of players back from injury his likely line-up will be in a 4-4-2 formation with Robert Green in goal, Darren Kenton, who is out of contract at the end of the season, at right-back and impressive former Peterborough youngster Adam Drury at left-back. On-loan Leigh Bromby from Sheffield Wednesday will make his Carrow Road debut alongside Craig Fleming in central defence.

Former Crewe midfielder Mark Rivers will operate down the right flank with top scorer Paul McVeigh on the left side cutting in.

Teenager Sinclair will go in the middle along with Clint Easton while the strike force will consist of Iwan Roberts and David Neilsen.

Paul Crichton will be the back-up keeper, while Zema Abbey could be joined on the bench by Paul Heckingbottom and a couple of teenagers.

Veteran referee Graham Laws from Whitley Bay takes charge of the sell-out game which starts at 1pm.

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