McKenna gives injuries and Covid update ahead of Gillingham trip

Bersant Celina celebrates his goal just before the break with a lift from teammate Sone Aluko.

Bersant Celina hasn't started for Ipswich Town since scoring his spectacular goal against Crewe back in November. - Credit: Steve Waller -

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has given injury and Covid updates ahead of Saturday's League One match at Gillingham.

The Blues boss wasn't able to call upon Covid-hit goalkeeper Christian Walton for the 1-0 home win against Wycombe on December 29, while Toto Nsiala, Kyle Edwards and Rekeem Harper weren't deemed fit enough to play having only just recovered from the virus.

Bersant Celina is another player who has been absent for the Blues over recent weeks due to a combination of injuries and illness. 

"Thankfully we're in a really good position," said McKenna, when asked for an update on the aforementioned players.

"There has been no illness in the group over the last week or so and there are a few players who have recovered from illness and injuries back. I think Jon Nolan and (Hayden) Coulson are the only long-term absentees at the moment, other than that it's been a really big group training and competing to be involved in the game on Saturday.

"We have a really good squad and it's impossible for everyone to play. It's difficult to get on our bench at the moment, certainly that's going to be the case this weekend. We have a lot of good players available who have all trained well and who will all be thinking they deserve to have a part to play.

"A manager can only pick a squad that he feels is right. We're just telling them that everyone has a part to play. Even when you feel like you're not part of it then your opportunity might only be around the corner. As a professional footballer you are paid to train well and prepare yourself for whenever you are called upon.

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"James Norwood and Luke Woolfenden are good examples of that. They are boys who haven't played much but come in recently and had an impact. Hopefully they won't be the last ones who come in and help us get results."

Despite being appointed on December 16, McKenna has only had one game in charge so far due to the fact scheduled games against Gillingham (Boxing Day) and Lincoln (New Year's Day) were postponed due to Covid outbreaks in the opposition camp.

"We wanted to play the Lincoln game, we felt we had good momentum and good options, but it wasn't to be," said McKenna. "We've used the time well though. There's been lots of training, lots of meetings, we managed to give them a day or two off along the way as well, so everyone is fresh, hungry and looking forward to the game."

Gillingham currently sit 22nd in the League One table and are on a 12-game winless run (D5 L7).

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