Central force – Blues boss pleased with midfield strength
LUKE Hyam should have a key role to play in Ipswich Town’s festive programme – but he might have to settle for a place on the bench for tomorrow’s match at Bristol City.
The Blues’ small squad will be tested during a run of four league matches in 11 days which begins with the visit of the Robins, currently one place below Town in fourth-bottom.
Hyam has been unable to build on his starring role in the 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest at the end of last month after succumbing to a calf injury and then a virus.
But he has shaken off both and will be in the squad for tomorrow’s vital match, though might be on the bench if Mick McCarthy keeps faith in Andy Drury alongside Guirane N’Daw.
The Town boss said: “Luke’s had four weeks without a game of any sorts, but he had done really well in the game he played (Forest). I’ve no doubt he’ll get to be involved in the five games coming up – they’re coming thick and fast.
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“He would have played that next game because I’d have had no cause to leave him out. Andy Drury played ever so well against Millwall here though and I had no cause to leave him out (at Leeds).”
McCarthy admitted he was pleased with the quality of his midfield quartet, completed by Nigel Reo-Coker who has just six games left before he is due to leave Portman Road under his present deal.
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The manager explained: “I’ve been pleased with all four of the central midfielders. Nigel gives us that experience and is a good person to have around the place, and he’s played well.
“I think Luke was excellent when he played, Andy (Drury) had a slow start having not played for a while but has got better, but the real stand-out one for me has been Guirane N’Daw – he’s been outstanding and has arguably been our best player.”