Edwards could be back for Hull visit as returning players push to keep their places
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Gwion Edwards could return from injury for Ipswich Town at Hull City tomorrow night.
The Welshman, who is still Town’s top scorer on five league goals, hasn’t started a game for the Blues since the 1-1 draw at Crewe on January 30 and has missed the last two games due to injury.
But he is in contention for the game against the Tigers, with fellow winger Luke Thomas also potentially returning after missing the weekend draw with Oxford.
“I think there’s a chance and they’re getting assessed this morning,” Town coach Matt Gill said.
“Gwion is probably more likely to play than Luke but they’re both going to be looked at. Hopefully they can be a part of it.
“He started the season really well, Gwion and he’s obviously been a big miss. If we can have him back in and around it then that’s going to be a big plus.
“Having a fully fit and firing front four helps. If you miss attacking players then it hurts you so it would be great to have him back in around it.”
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Any return from Edwards is likely to be from the bench, though he could potentially come into the starting XI in place of Keanan Bennetts, who performed well on what was his first outing since the middle of December at the weekend.
“We were really pleased with him at the weekend because he’s had to be really patient after his injury,” Gill said.
“What I like about him is he has courage and wants to take people on. He wants to be attacking and I really like that bravery about him. We need that and we need players who are brave and want to make things happen without worrying about losing a tackle and then wanting to go and get the ball again.”
On the likelihood of an unchanged side at Hull, following an Oxford draw in which Toto Nsiala and James Wilson also returned from injury and performed well, Gill said: “I think everyone’s come through unscathed although we’ll have a few aches and pains to assess.
“I’m sure they are all keen to get out there again so I think that competition for places means the boys are desperate to stay in the team and put in positive performances like they did at the weekend.
“Willo did great. He’s a really experienced lad and after he came back from his knee operation and rehab he’s been desperate to play a part and try to turn the season around. He did great so I was really pleased for him.
“It’s tempting to go with the same XI but we need to assess how the lads feel physically. The lads who played Saturday will be desperate to play again.”
On the absence of Luke Woolfenden and Mark McGuinness from the 18 on Saturday, having started the previous five games together, Gill said: “We pick the bench based on the starting XI and we picked it for cover, so the ability of Chambo (Luke Chambers) to fill in at centre-half from right-back gives you that flexibility on the bench.
“That’s the only reason the two of them weren’t involved and they’ve obviously played a lot of football and were involved in a couple of clean sheets themselves, so there’s nothing untoward there.”
Striker James Norwood played 81 minutes on Saturday having struggled with hamstring injuries of late but, while the Blues would love to use their No.10 as often as possible, Gill stressed the need to tread carefully with the former Tranmere man.
“Nors is the same as a lot of the lads in that having the competition for places only makes us stronger,” he said.
“Aaron came on at the weekend and we’re asking our front players to put in a hell of a shift, with strikers working hard in and out of possession.
“Nors is desperate to play 90 minutes and he’s quite capable of doing that but we have to be careful with the way we’re managing certain players at the moment."
Kayden Jackson and Jon Nolan are still training with the club’s young players and are not in consideration for the game against the side sitting third in League One.
"They're not training with the group at the moment, that's been publicised, so they won't be in the squad for tomorrow."