Fixture drought causes Civelli concern

LUCIANO Civelli has suffered another blow in his fight to return to Ipswich Town’s first team - but this time it has nothing to do with an injury setback.

The Argentinian winger’s chances of forcing his way into Roy Keane’s plans this side of Christmas had largely hinged on him impressing in reserve team matches.

But that is currently impossible with Town’s second string not having a fixture planned for the whole of November.

As the club desperately look for any meaningful match, Civelli is faced with a nightmare scenario as he continues his own search for match fitness and form.

The 24-year-old, who scored his first reserve goal of the season in last week’s 2-2 draw at Stevenage, has described his knee as “perfect” but both player and manager know it is now a question of performances.

After tomorrow’s match against Luton was postponed, the 24-year-old’s next game is currently set to be a home fixture against Southend on December 1.

Reserve team boss Chris Kiwomya said: “We are looking to play a friendly or two if possible. We’re talking to some of the bigger clubs amongst others and hopefully something can be sorted out.”

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While not welcome for Kiwomya, Keane and other members of the playing staff, the situation is particularly frustrating for Civelli who has understandably struggled to find form in the reserves after 16 months out following his cruciate knee ligament injury.

A blank month has become a possibility after Town’s home game against Luton in the Totesport.Com League tomorrow was postponed due to the Hatters’ involvement in the FA Youth Cup.

Kiwomya and the club will work hard to organise some kind of match with Town’s reserve league containing just seven teams and Ipswich having already fulfilled almost half of their fixtures.

Supporters had initially hoped to see Civelli fighting for a first team squad place by now after he appeared in the club’s first pre-season friendly at Newmarket Town in July and targeted the start of the season.

But he suffered a minor, unrelated, knee injury in a subsequent friendly at Leiston and now faces a stiff fight to get back into the first team squad against the likes of Andros Townsend and the returning Jack Colback, who played on the left of midfield in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Millwall.

Civelli has played just eight times for Town since he signed from Argentina’s Club Atletico Banfield for an undisclosed fee in January 2009.

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