Daryl targets a hat-trick

DARYL Murphy will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of goal-scoring appearances for Ipswich Town, at bottom club Peterborough United tonight.

DARYL Murphy will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of goal-scoring appearances for Ipswich Town, at bottom club Peterborough United tonight.

But Town boss Roy Keane admits that it's far too early to start talking about the possibility of making Murphy's stay from Sunderland a permament one. That is a discussion for nearer the end of the season.

Murphy has hit the back of the net in his first two outings, against Middlesbrough and at QPR, to help earn his new club a valuable four points in their quest to pull clear of the relegation battle.

Now the Irishman is out to complete his hat-trick at London Road. And fellow Sunderland loanee David Healy could well start alongside him this evening.

“It's too early to talk about permanent deals,” said Keane.

“But it would be nice to have that conversation with Sunderland in two or three months' time, when Murphy is on eight or nine goals, and the same with David.

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“The issue is always the wages. We can get our heads around the fees involved - you can often pay a fee over two or three years - but we have to be careful with wages. That's the problem with a lot of Championship clubs.”

Referring to Murphy's impact at Portman Road, since his switch from the north-east, Keane continued: “Murph will be delighted with two goals in two games, but maybe he could have scored another couple the other night (at QPR).

“He's a very fit boy anyway, so he's caught up to speed with games.

“David Healy played his part in the first goal, and he has trained well, yet sometimes you need to get that extra bit of sharpness with games.”

Keane has no fresh injury concerns. In fact, Connor Wickham and Lee Martin have both recovered from their respective niggling injuries, although Martin's tweaked hamstring is unlikely to see him return tonight.

Keeper Richard Wright is also making excellent progress from his long-term knee injury, and is expected to feature for the Reserves next week.

He suffered the injury after 20 minutes of the 2-1 win at Cardiff City on November 29.

“Connor Wickham trained the last few days, and Lee Martin has done a bit of training, so we literally have a full squad available,” said Keane.

“Richard Wright is due to see the specialist on Tuesday, and if he gets the thumbs-up then we'd expect him to play for the Reserves next week.

“So he's been three or four weeks ahead of schedule, which doesn't surprise me because he's obviously a good professional.

“When you are given dates from a surgeon, say it might be three months, your top, top players will try to knock three weeks off that, while other players will be trying to add one or two weeks to it.”

Meanwhile, fellow keeper Brian Murphy is pushing hard for a start, after playing for the Reserves in the 1-0 win at Norwich City last week.

Murphy damaged his ankle during the warm-up at Leicester just over a month ago.

“Brian is close, he's very close. He's pushing Arran,” said Keane. Lee Barrett has been ever-present for the last 14 games.

“It was good for Brian to get a game under his belt at Norwich, but it's been a strange year for goalkeepers at the football club.

“It's certainly not helped the back four. Arran has the jersey at the moment, but it's game to game. He's done the business for us so far.”

It's never easy trying to second guess Keane's team selection before every game. For the last outing, at QPR, the Town boss opted to select two inexperienced full-backs in Jack Colback (usually a midfielder) and Jaime Peters (usually a winger).

“It was horses for courses the other night,” said Keane.

“But don't think for one minute that it will be the same team. I'm sure you can have a good guess, but I bet you get it wrong! I usually get it wrong!” quipped Keane.

Even though Peterborough are rock bottom of the Championship, Keane added: “With the amount of victories we have, we must respect everyone we play, especially away from home where we've only had two victories.”