Bug leaves Blues with keeper crisis

YOUTH keeper Lewis Ward has been put on emergency stand-by to join up with the Blues today after Shane Supple fell victim to a stomach bug going through the Ipswich camp.

Derek Davis

YOUTH keeper Lewis Ward has been put on emergency stand-by to join up with the Blues today after Shane Supple fell victim to a stomach bug going through the Ipswich camp.

Ward will be flown over to Belfast today if Supple has not recovered sufficiently to play in tonight's friendly at Donegal Celtic and a decision will be made this morning.

Jon Walters missed Monday's night's 7-0 win at Cliftonville with the illness but has recovered enough to train yesterday.

The virus is concerning Magilton.

He said last night: “Shane has been hit by the lurgy. We have to keep them segregated without making them feel like lepers, although Jon is training again.

Most Read

“If Shane doesn't make it we will fly in Lewis Ward in an absolute emergency.

“We may have to put in an outfield player but we will weigh it all up after we see how Shane is.

“It could prove to be a good exercise because it may be that for one reason or another in a league game an outfield player may have to go in goal so it would be good to have a contingency plan.”

The Blues have been training at Green Mount campus, where the Northern Ireland national squad usually prepare, and are staying in the same Antrim hotel that the national side uses. Magilton has been delighted with the way things have gone.

He said: “Training has gone really well and there is a great atmosphere in the camp. The hotel is top class, the staff have been great, the food excellent and the banter between everyone is very good.

“We played well the other night, passing the ball around well at times and confidence is growing.”

After enjoying a trip to the Giants' Causeway and making their way along the Rope Walk, Town have been back at work preparing for the new season with two games in three days to come.

Magilton would welcome another convincing display against the Irish League side tonight but is not fooled by the romps they have enjoyed so far.

Magilton said: “Pre-season games can be very deceptive. You can win every game then lose on the first day of the league season or vice versa, lose every friendly then get off to a flyer.

“The whole aim is to stay injury-free and work hard.”

Former Charlton, Spurs and Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher is expected to play tonight as he looks to carry on impressing the Blues coaching staff, and local Belfast boy Chris Casement is hoping to make his mark at right-back.

Magilton has also invited two Irish players to train with the squad with Ross Redman and Neil Quinn getting a close look at the Blues.

He said: “It gives them an insight in how we go about our business and for us to have a look at them.

“Ross Redman is a lad who impressed at Portadown and the manager has kindly allowed him to come and train with us.

“Neill Quinn plays for an amateur league club here in Ireland and both have acquitted themselves very well and have been a credit to their respective clubs.”