Town youngsters could get chance in final two games as Blues deal with injuries
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Kieran McKenna could give some of Ipswich Town’s young player first-team opportunities during the Blues’ final two games of the season.
Town are out of play-off contention heading into matches with Crewe and Charlton, though McKenna remains intent on putting out strong sides in a bid to secure victories and further develop the club’s playing style.
But, within that, McKenna could potentially give experience to some of the club’s promising youngsters in terms of travel with the first-team or even minutes on the pitch.
“My first thought is that we need to put out a competitive team, a team that gives us a really good chance to go and win the game and continue the development of our performances,” McKenna said.
“But it’s also a possibility that in the last couple of games we’ll look to give a little bit of experience and exposure to a couple of the young players who have been doing well.
“That could be in terms of travelling with the group and being around the team and understanding a little bit better how we do things and also maybe some exposure on the pitch.
“There’s a chance that we’ll make a couple of changes to the travelling squad. There was a big group of U23s who have trained with us and they’re in that group who are trying to make themselves available for selection.”
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Elkan Baggott has been in the senior squad for several weeks now, while midfielders Cameron Humphreys and Tawanda Chirewa have both spent significant spells training with the first-team.
The young players’ cause could be aided by a number of senior players carrying knocks, with Sone Aluko’s season potentially over.
“Sone has a knee injury from the last collision with the goalkeeper in the Rotherham game,” McKenna said.
“So that, timeline-wise, is going to make it difficult for him to get back on the pitch for Charlton.
“It's not a major injury, but it's one that's going to take a couple of weeks to settle, so he's going to try and make himself available for the Charlton game, but we have to see how that one goes.
“We had quite a few knocks again the other night. Matt Penney picked up a heavy dead leg in the first half, so that was why he was unable to come out for the second half and he's very doubtful at the moment for Saturday.
“And then we have some of the boys who have been playing a little bit more carrying some knocks.
“Wes (Burns) got a heavy one on his ankle very early in the game that he managed to play on through, but there's a little bit of bruising there, so again he's not trained and we have to make a judgement on how he is for Saturday.
“We've not made too many decisions yet and we're going to have to wait until Friday's session and see how people come through it and see what the squad looks like for Saturday.”
Kane Vincent-Young could play for the first time since the draw with Cheltenham in February, though, as he works his way back from a hamstring problem.
“He will definitely travel with the squad,” McKenna said.
“He's now trained for a week, so we feel he is now ready for involvement and he will definitely travel with the squad on Saturday. He’s had a couple of different injuries over the last couple of months, but it’s been his hamstring recently so he missed a couple of weeks with that.
“But, as I say, he’s now trained with the group fully for about a week and we feel like he’s just at the point where he has the confidence to go into match action.”
Lee Evans is unlikely to return before the end of the season due to a knee problem, but hasn’t been completely ruled out of the final-day clash with Charlton, while George Edmundson (ankle), Kayden Jackson (hamstring) and Kyle Edwards (quad) have already seen their seasons come to an end due to injury.