Balkestein ruled out of friendly

PIM Balkestein has been ruled out of tonight's friendly at Brighton with injury.

Derek Davis

PIM Balkestein has been ruled out of tonight's friendly at Brighton with injury.

Pablo Counago is also a doubt after picking up a knock in Town's 2-1 home win over West Brom on Saturday and that could mean Jordan Rhodes partnering Alan Lee up front.

Jon Walters remains on leave as his wife is still in expecting their second child.

Dan Harding could go in at left back, unless David Wright switches and Blues boss Jim Magilton reverts to using Jaime Peters at right back as he did in previous pre-season games.

Chris Casement and Alex Bruce will also be looking for starts.

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The Blues have sent a strong first team squad to the Withdean Stadium for their penultimate pre-season game with West Ham at home on Monday the final game before the league campaign starts next Monday.

Brighton have got former Town duo Matt Richards and Nicky Forster in their 24-man squad, while ex Colchester players Adam Virgo and Kevin McLeod will be involved.

Town will be sending a second string squad to Braintree Town tomorrow, although just as at Tiptree last week a number of fringe first teamers will be involved.

Balkestein's injury could pave the way for Tommy Smith to cement his place in the starting line up after partnering Gareth McAuley on Saturday.

The Ipswich Town and England Under-17s defender and is looking for more of the same with the new season less than two weeks away.

Smith said: “I know it is not going to be easy because there are so many good players here but the manager wants me to push my claims.

Being involved against West Brom was fantastic for me and now I have to push on from here.

“Pre-season has gone well for me and now my target is to be involved against West Ham next week and then Preston on the Saturday.

“Making my first team debut is my aim for this season.”

Smith was discovered while playing in New Zealand but originally hails from Macclesfield, gained valuable experience last season while playing under Peter Taylor at Stevenage.