Kennedy ready to step in against Rangers

IPSWICH TOWN: Mark Kennedy is set to make his second Blues start when Queens Park Rangers visit Portman Road in an npower Championship fixture tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

The 34-year-old left back, who was signed from Cardiff City in the summer for �75,000, pulled up with a hamstring strain after 85 minutes of the opening match of the season at Middlesbrough.

He came back to play the final 20 minutes of the goalless draw at Portsmouth at the weekend and Town manager Roy Keane has confirmed that he will not hesitate in playing the former Republic of Ireland international if Darren O’Dea is unfit.

O’Dea is rated 50-50 with a fresh injury after colliding with a post when he should have converted a flicked-on corner at the far post at Fratton Park.

“With Darren on loan from Celtic I have to be a bit more wary and respectful of the situation,” said Keane.

“If Mark comes in it will not be ideal but he has the experience to handle the situation.

“Mark will be okay I’m sure but with a hamstring injury he needs to be looked after more carefully than Connor Wickham, who is likely to spend more minutes this week playing in the reserve game at Colchester United tomorrow night.”

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Wickham will be involved in some capacity tonight after coming through 20 minutes at Pompey with no ill effects from the ankle injury he suffered pre-season.

“Medically, Connor is fine, but after missing pre-season – like Damien Delaney – he needs minutes on the pitch.”

Delaney is also likely to feature in some capacity against Rangers, but is earmarked to join Wickham in playing around 70 minutes at Colchester.

Andros Townsend is available again after serving a three-match suspension and he will almost certainly be in tonight’s squad with Keane saying:

“We’ve missed Andros as he’s a good player.

“He gives penetration and balance and because of the hectic schedule we have over the next few weeks he will get his chance.

“I’m looking forward to the run of matches coming up, and it’s a big ask for someone like young Luke Hyam.

“I won’t flog him, but he can have arrest when he’s retired or dead!

“Being 18, and knowing the type of lad he is, he has the shirt and he wants to keep it.

“He is doing a good job ahead of the back four, but I have Grant Leadbitter and David Norris who can play his role or we can switch systems.”

Town striker Tamas Priskin is set to face the club where he spent the last weeks of last season on loan.

Right-back Bradley Orr (calf) and his replacement Peter Ramage (ankle) suffered knocks in QPR’s win over Middlesbrough at the weekend and both have had scans, with Tommy Smith again set to start on the bench after his move from Portsmouth. Another new signing striker Rob Hulse (Achilles) is still sidelined.

Tonight’s likely squads

Ipswich Town: Fulop, Peters, McAuley, T Smith, Kennedy, O’Dea, Brown, Hyam, Edwards, Leadbitter, Norris, Townsend, Priskin, Scotland, Wickham, Murphy, Delaney, Healy, Murray, Eastman.

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Orr, Connolly, Gorkks, Derry, Ephraim, Taarabt, Faurlin, Mackie, Helguson, Ramage, Buzsaky, T Smith, Leigertwood, Cerny, Agyemang, Parker, Walker.

Referee: Mr K Stroud (Hampshire)

Ipswich Town home league record v QPR

P31 W16 D9 L6 F48 A31

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