New boy Ryan Stevenson unlikely to feature against Hammers

RYAN Stevenson is unlikely to make his Ipswich Town bow in tomorrow night’s match at home to West Ham.

The midfielder was signed on a 18-month contract from Hearts for around �50,000 at the weekend, but he is struggling for match fitness having not played for six weeks following a pay dispute with the Edinburgh club.

Both player and Blues boss Paul Jewell admitted it is unlikely that Portman Road will get their first look at the 27-year-old for the visit of the league leaders.

Jewell said: “We’ve been looking at him (Stevenson) for quite a while. He could have gone to a couple of other clubs on longer contracts, but he was keen to come here and prove himself.

“He’s got a goal in him, he’s an attacking midfield player but can play up front as well.

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“He hasn’t trained with Hearts since the 17th of December so I don’t think his fitness will quite be up to speed, but we’ve seen him in training for a couple of days now and he looks like a fit lad so hopefully it won’t be long for him to catch up.”

And fellow midfielder Lee Bowyer also remains on the sidelines as he continues to make slow progress from his groin injury.

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Jewell confirmed today that Arran Lee-Barrett will start in goal with Richard Wright on the bench – just days after returning from his preliminary trial with MLS side Dallas FC.

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