Shock recall could be on for Roberts

GARY Roberts could be in line for a shock recall to the Blues starting side after Jim Magilton failed to land any more players in the loan window.With Pablo Counago starting the first of his three match ban against QPR, Shefki Kuqi not fully recovered from a hamstring strain and Jon Walters out for much of the rest of the season, Roberts will battle Danny Haynes and Jordan Rhodes for the starting spot up front alongside Alan Lee.

Derek Davis

GARY Roberts could be in line for a shock recall to the Blues starting side after Jim Magilton failed to land any more players in the loan window.

With Pablo Counago starting the first of his three match ban against QPR, Shefki Kuqi not fully recovered from a hamstring strain and Jon Walters out for much of the rest of the season, Roberts will battle Danny Haynes and Jordan Rhodes for the starting spot up front alongside Alan Lee.

Town rejected a couple of loan requests from lower league clubs for Roberts who was an unused substitute at Scunthorpe on Saturday.


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Although predominantly a left-winger, Roberts has played as a striker this season with the Blues, and at previous clubs, and has looked lively while playing up there for the reserves of late.

Teenager Rhodes, with 41 goals to his name this season, 21 of those in the reserves, is desperately keen to make his full debut and score in the Championship. Magilton may feel this home fixture would be a good time to fully blood him after being restricted to cameo substitute roles so far.

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Another hoping to have given the boss a nudge is Dean Bowditch who scored a hat-trick for the reserves on Tuesday against Grays Athletic's second string.

Despite casting his net far and wide right back Danny Simpson has been the only loan capture with Magilton failing to land any of his other targets before the emergency loan window closed at 5pm last night.

Magilton said: “With Jon Walters and Bam Bam (Richard Naylor) out injured and Pablo suspended we looked at adding another experienced player to the squad for the rest of the season. We made several enquiries to Premier League clubs about players, but there's a general reluctance from clubs to let players go and from players to leave as well.

“The deadline has gone now and we move on. It's now down to the players here to finish the job they started and I have every confidence in them achieving that.”

Town will be disappointed that Shola Ameobi chose to join league leaders Stoke City and not them.

Strikers David Healy and David Nugent all preferred to stay with their respective clubs, while defenders Dejan Stefanovic and Abdoulaye Meite didn't want to leave the Premier League reserves, although both had been given the go-ahead by their respective bosses.

There was some activity in the Championship with Scott Sinclair choosing to go to Crystal Palace from Chelsea and being recalled from Charlton, while the Addicks extended Leroy Lita's loan from Reading until the end of the season. .

West Brom allowed Bartosz Slusarski to join relegation battlers Sheffield Wednesday, while Baggies boss Tony Mowbray recalled Neil Clement from Hull City.

Former Town defender Scott Mitchell has joined Sammy Moore and Tommy Smith at Stevenage after being loaned out by Peterborough United.

Ipswich midfielder Ed Upson also attracted a bit of interest with a number of scouts watching him play his part in the England Under 19s 3-1 win over Russia in midweek.

Shane Supple won his first Republic of Ireland cap in their 1-1 draw with Montenegro with Billy Clarke also playing. Both are still on loan at Falkirk.

Town's injury problems continue with Naylor ruled out for three months after being booked in next week for an operation on a slipped disc in his neck.

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