Bruce determined to retain his place

IPSWICH Town defender Alex Bruce last night confirmed his desire to retain his starting place in Saturday's Championship game against Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town defender Alex Bruce last night confirmed his desire to retain his starting place in Saturday's Championship game against Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road (kick-off 5.20pm).

The 25-year-old has starred in the Blues' last two matches having regained a place in the side following injuries to Gareth McAuley and Tommy Smith.

Both McAuley and Smith are fit enough to be considered for the visit of the Owls and will offer stiff competition when manager Roy Keane comes to name his team.

But Bruce is hoping he has done enough to keep his place.

“We have not been winning games so the manager is going to try different players and different combinations,” said Bruce, who was partnered by Damien Delaney at the heart of the defence for the ground-breaking first win of the season against Derby and the 1-1 draw at Reading just before the current international break.

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“Hopefully I can keep my place for Saturday.

“It's better if you have a settled partner at the back but the way the Championship is with so many games and players going to get injured, pick up suspensions, things are always going to change around.

“Damien and I had not played together in the middle before and it does take time to build up that understanding.

“But I think we did okay.”

It is a defensive headache for Keane - having to choose two from four central defenders for the visit of Wednesday.

He confirmed that McAuley had recovered from a thigh injury, and is back in contention, while Smith returned to action for Town Reserves in their 3-1 win at Luton Town on Tuesday.

Smith had needed surgery on his hand, which had been damaged in training, but Keane confirmed: “Hopefully, Gareth (McAuley) should be available for Saturday and we will see how Tommy (Smith) is, but he should also be okay.”

Former Town midfielder Tommy Miller will not be in the Wednesday side having torn a hamstring in training last Friday.

Miller moved from Portman Road to Hillsborough during the summer, and Bruce was looking forward to seeing his former team mate.

“Tommy was a great servant to Ipswich Town and it's a shame he will miss Saturday's games,” added Bruce.

“I'm not sure if he will come to the game but if he does, it will be good to see him again.”