'Every chance' Baggott makes his league debut soon, says McKenna

Elkan Baggott in action against Southend United in the FA Youth Cup Picture: Ross Halls

Elkan Baggott looks set to make his Ipswich Town debut before the end of the season. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says there's 'every chance' that young defender Elkan Baggott will make his league debut before the end of the season, but remained tight-lipped as to whether that will come in Saturday's televised clash at Rotherham (12.30pm ko).

With George Edmundson already a long-term injury, Cameron Burgess was sent off in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury and now has to serve a one game ban.

One option is play Dominic Thompson on the left side of a back three, the other is to promote 19-year-old Baggott from the Under-23s. Being 6ft 4in tall and left-footed could make him a natural fit to face a direct and physical Millers attack.

"In terms of replacing George and Cameron, we've decided that internally," said McKenna. "We've looked at different options in terms of systems, how we've played this year and positions that people have played. We're pretty well settled on the team at the moment and I'll keep that to ourselves until the game on Saturday.

"Obviously (Michael) Smith and (Freddie) Ladapo are two really good, physical forwards who have different attributes. Smith is dominant in the air, while Ladapo has that pace and is good one-v-one. That's a strong front pairing and we have to prepare for that as best we can, the same way we prepare and account for every team's main strengths. 

"But in general the approach will always be to emphasise our strengths and make it our type of game and make it very difficult for them to impose themselves as they want to."

Baggott was on the bench for Town's recent games against Oxford and Plymouth, but dropped out the squad for subsequent matches against Cambridge and Shrewsbury. He didn't feature for the U23s on Tuesday as John McGreal's men went top of the table with a 1-0 win at Bristol City.

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"He's someone who has trained with us for a good while," said McKenna, when asked about the Bangkok-born academy graduate.

"He's had little opportunities before - he played in an EFL Trophy game, had his loan move out at King's Lynn and he's had some good international exposure (with Indonesia) as well. 

"So he's a player we really like, he's part of the long-term plan here but he also, and he knows this himself, still has a lot of developing to do. That's physically and in all other areas. 

"I've spoken to him privately about his development pathway over the next couple of years and how we see that. We're very much on the same page in those discussions. 

"He's a player we see being part of what we're doing in the future. At the moment he continues to be part of the group. He's been in a couple of matchday squads and there's every chance we'll see him on the pitch at some stage before the end of the season."

George Edmundson looked uncomfortable ahead of being substituted.

George Edmundson has been sidelined with an ankle injury sustained in the home win against Lincoln back in early March. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Meanwhile, the Blues boss says he is hopeful one or two of his long-term absentees will return to action before the end of the campaign.

"It's the same situation with injuries," he said. "George (Edmundson), Lee Evans, Kayden (Jackson) and Kyle (Edwards) are still not training with the group. 

"If their rehab can be done to the right level of confidence then I'd like to see George or Lee on the pitch against Charlton on the final day. We'll continue to push towards that. Kayden and Kyle are pretty much ruled out completely though.

"Kane Vincent-Young hasn't been training with us for the last couple of weeks with an issue, but he returned the back end of this week. We have to take a view when his first involvement will be."