BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Ipswich look to derail Leicester’s slim play-off hopes
THE clamour is growing.
For two consecutive matches, Luke Hyam and Josh Carson have got kitted out, warmed up before the 3pm kick-off, but then sat and watched their team mates in blue.
A large section of supporters are growing frustrated as Paul Jewell continues to ignore the young pair in favour of players who may not be at Ipswich next season.
After predicting changes for two matches in 48 hours, Town fans arriving at Portman Road this afternoon for the visit of Leicester City will be hoping for the best.
As it is, Ryan Stevenson, Lee Bowyer and Jason Scotland seem more likely to take advantage of any changes with the trio occupying spots on the bench in recent matches.
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Scotland appears to be the most likely to start against the Foxes who still have designs on a top-six spot after destroying Doncaster 4-0 on Saturday.
Michael Chopra again looked a little off the pace against Derby and Scotland could be in line to benefit.
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Bowyer will also be hoping to start alongside Grant Leadbitter but many fans would prefer to see Hyam while Carson or Stevenson could come in if Jewell feels Daryl Murphy or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas need a break.
As expected, the manager was keeping his cards close to his chest in the wake of the goalless draw at Pride Park.
He said: “I keep saying there will be changes and then when it gets to naming the team, I don’t do it. I will have to see how everyone is on Sunday.”
After Jewell named his side for Barnsley last week just an hour-and-a-half before kick-off, a similarly late decision is expected but the decisions should be all of his own making with his side coming through the testing trip to Derby apparently unscathed.
Aaron Cresswell left Pride Park wearing a protective shoe after Rams striker Jamie Ward inadvertently trod on his Achilles but the left-back was confident he would be fit for today’s encounter.
Fellow defender Tommy Smith spent 15 minutes after the match with fitness coach Andy Liddell going through a number of stretches and light runs, but the New Zealand international is also expected to be passed fit for what should be a difficult encounter.
While many predicted them to be among the Championship contenders, Leicester, like their hosts, have struggled for consistency all season.
Yet, they remain on the cusp of the play-off spots, five points off Cardiff in sixth with five games to play.
After the players held crunch talks following last week’s defeat at Peterborough, the Foxes bounced back with a routine win over relegation-threatened Doncaster – knowing they cannot afford many more slip-ups.
City assistant boss Craig Shakespeare said: “It seems one week we’re totally out of the play-offs, then the next we’re in with a chance.
“We know we’re running out of games and we know what we’ve got to do. It’s an old clich�, but it has to be one game at a time. We’ll try to take the points at Ipswich and hope other teams drop points.”
Leicester are without strikers Darius Vassell (knee) and Martyn Waghorn (hamstring) while Neil Danns is suspended. But they should welcome back dangerous attacker Paul Gallagher.