McCarthy will start in goal at Birmingham – but Bullard ruled out with ‘nasty virus’

NEW signing Alex McCarthy will start in goal for Ipswich Town at Birmingham tomorrow night, manager Paul Jewell has confirmed.

The 22-year-old has today officially joined the Blues on a three-month loan deal from fellow Championship club Reading and will replace Arran Lee-Barrett at St Andrew’s.

Jewell has spoken to number of transfer targets over the past few days, but admits he is unlikely to sign anyone else in time for tomorrow night’s game.

Negotiations are at an advanced stage for transfer-listed Leicester City centre-back Sean St Ledger, with the player now deciding whether he wants to come to Portman Road. Town are looking to seal a loan deal with view to a permanent move, but would need to complete paperwork at least three hours before kick-off.

That could leave Jewell with just two fit centre-backs for tomorrow’s game in the form of Ibrahima Sonko and Tommy Smith, as Damien Delaney is a major doubt following a recurrence of a foot injury at Hull on Saturday.

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“Damien has turned and hurt the same foot that he recently had an operation on,” said Jewell. “It’s unlikely he will be available.”

Lee Bowyer will not be facing his former club as he is still facing at least two weeks on the sidelines with a groin problem, while Jimmy Bullard is struggling with a virus.

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“Jimmy’s not very good,” said Jewell. “Shame on some people that they cast aspersion, sniggering that he had a ‘New Year’s Eve illness’.

“He’s been very ill Jimmy, very ill. He came in on Sunday and was sent straight home. He’s tried to do some running, but this has just wiped him out completely.

“This has just wiped him out and he won’t be considered for tomorrow.”

– For full match preview, see tomorrow’s EADT and Evening Star

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