Kuqi could hurt the ones he loves

SHEFKI Kuqi could hurt the ones he loves tonight when Crystal Palace take on Ipswich Town in the Coca-Cola Championship at Selhurst Park (kick-off 8pm).

Elvin King

SHEFKI Kuqi could hurt the ones he loves tonight when Crystal Palace take on Ipswich Town in the Coca-Cola Championship at Selhurst Park (kick-off 8pm).

The 31-year-old Finland international striker, who cost the Eagles £2.5million from Blackburn 18 months ago, is now back with Neil Warnock's side after a spell on loan with Premier League Fulham.

He came on as a substitute in Friday's 2-0 defeat at Charlton, and could make the starting line-up this evening as Warnock makes changes to try to end a run that has seen just one point gained from the last three games.

Kuqi's temporary move to Craven Cottage was partly due to the way he was being treated by Palace fans, and an escape from the boo-boys.

“I am back with Crystal Palace and hopefully the slate can be wiped clean,” said Kuqi, who was a big favourite when playing a leading part in Town reaching the play-offs under Joe Royle in 2004/5 when he scored 20 goals.

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“Ipswich have proper fans, they always support you,” added Kuqi. “They are an excellent club and I still have a great deal of time for the Blues.”

Tony Craig is injured while Clint Hill took an ankle knock at The Valley when Palace were well below par after steadily climbing the table from the time Peter Taylor was replaced by Warnock.

Lee Hills is likely to come in if Hill fails a fitness test, with full back John Halls now back with Reading after his loan came to an end at the weekend.

With Danny Butterfield signing a new two-year contract, Warnock has to weigh up whether he wants to keep Halls.

Shaun Derry will play the holding role in a midfield three, with former Colchester player Neil Danns - a recent £500,000 signing from Birmingham - set to make his home debut on the right.

Clinton Morrison and Paul Ifill's front line places are in doubt although middle front man James Scowcroft is likely to start. Kuqi and young Sean Scannell are waiting in the wings to come in.

“We have got to regroup and start enjoying our games again,” said Warnock. “We have got to look to play a different way - more to our strengths.”

Palace, who are level on points with sixth-placed Ipswich, have won five of their 15 home league matches.

Tonight's squads

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Butterfield, Lawrence, Hudson, Hill, Danns, Derry, Watson, Morrison, Scowcroft, Ifill, Hills, Soares, Moses, Fonte, Freedman, Kuqi, Scannell, Flinders.

Ipswich Town: Bywater, Colgan, Wright, Bruce, De Vos, Harding, Sito, Haynes, Norris, Garvan, Miller, Quinn, Lee, Walters, Counago, Naylor, Sumulikoski, Trotter.

Referee: Mr C Penton (Sussex).