Four players could return to Town team at Leicester
CONNOR Wickham, Gareth McAuley, Lee Martin and Brian Murphy could return to the Ipswich Town side for their final Championship game of the season at Leicester City tomorrow (kick-off 12.45pm).
Striker Wickham has missed the last couple of games with a rib injury, while central defender McAuley was absent from last weekend’s 2-1 win over Preston due to a slight tear to his groin.
“Gareth trained yesterday,” said Blues manager Paul Jewell. “And we will see how Connor is. We had a few injuries last week and once we get one or two key players out we become stretched.”
Martin has had to sit out the two Easter weekend defeats to Norwich City and Swansea and the Preston victory after being sent off in the 1-0 success at Bristol City on April 16.
Murphy has not played a senior game since breaking an ankle just before Christmas, but was back on the bench last weekend after Marton Fulop came in to replace Arran Lee-Barrett.
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Jaime Peters was given a tremendous cheer by Town supporters when he came on late against Preston to prove that he is still a firm fans’ favourite.
Along with Luca Civelli he does not appear to be in Jewell’s long term plans despite both having contracts that take them beyond this summer.
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Canadian international Peters has had a chequered Ipswich career being a regular in Jim Magilton’s early days in charge and then disappearing in the wilderness for two years before forcing his way back into the team for a run that lasted until the end of 2010.
Since Jewell’s arrival he has been a near permanent fixture on the substitutes’ bench without getting a call to action and with Martin now available it would be a surprise to see the player who celebrated his 24th birthday on Wednesday in tomorrow’s starting line-up.
With skipper David Norris unable to accept the new deal on the table to extend his time at Portman Road beyond the summer it looks like being his final game in a Town shirt before he moves on under the terms of a Bosman transfer.
It could well be the same for McAuley if he is fit and probably loanee Jimmy Bullard as well as working out a deal to have the Hull City midfielder here next season would appear to have insurmountable obstacles because of the size of his contract with the Tigers.
Wickham would appear to be a good bet to stay through the summer, although he is always likely to be the subject of a bid from a Premier League club. And if this matches – or betters – Town’s valuation the 18-year-old could be off.
Jewell is expecting no easy ride as the curtain comes down on another mediocre Ipswich campaign, and he said of the lunchtime visit to Leicester:
“Their home form has been outstanding, and they have goals in midfield from Andy King. Tahey have players of the ability and experience of Diomansy Kamara and Darius Vassell to bring on as substitutes.
“Leicester will be close to automatic promotion next season, and that will be their goal.
“But our away form, other than the recent Swansea game, has been good.”
Tomorrow’s likely squads
Leicester City: Weale, Vitor, Naughton, Mee, Bruma, King, Abe, Wellens, Yakubu, Gallagher, Vassell, Berner, Howard, Kamara, Tunchev, Smith, Moreno, Dyer, van Aanholt.
Ipswich Town: Fulop, Murphy, Edwards, Brown, Delaney, Kennedy, McAuley, Carson, Leadbitter, Bullard, Norris, Healy, Drury, Peters, Civelli, Wickham, Scotland, Eastman, Martin, Hyam.
Referee: Mr C Boyeson (East Yorkshire)
Ipswich away league record at Leicester City
P30 W9 D8 L13 F28 A39