TEAM NEWS: Hewitt and Tabb set to start, while Chopra is ruled out

Elliott Hewitt

Elliott Hewitt - Credit: Archant

Peterborough v Ipswich: MICK McCarthy has taken the unusual step of virtually naming his starting XI for tomorrow’s match at Peterborough United.

The Blues boss is without suspended duo Richard Stearmand and Lee Martin following their red cards in Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest, while striker Michael Chopra (dead leg) has also been ruled out.

McCarthy confirmed that Jay Tabb has been brought in on a one-month loan from Reading to fill in on the left of midfield, while youngster Elliott Hewitt will make his full Championship debut at left-back.

David McGoldrick – unavailable to face his parent club in midweek – should partner Daryl Murphy up front.

Carlos Edwards and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas are both available after missing Tuesday night’s match through a groin problem and illness respectively.

Town are five points clear of second-bottom Posh heading into tomorrow’s match at London Road – a fixture they were thrashed 7-1 in towards the start of last season.

Asked why he had brought Tabb in – Town’s 15th loan player of the season – McCarthy said: “First and foremost because I’ve lost Lee Martin to a three-game ban and Anthony Wordsworth to a fractured spine. I just felt I needed a player for that position, a left-sided player.

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“I know Jay (Emmanuel-Thomas) is left-footed, but he prefers playing on the right or drifting around the middle out the park.

“He’s a good player, an experienced campaigner and a really good pro. He can play anywhere along that middle four to be honest with you.

“Technically he’s very good, he’s very industrious and hard-working, so he’ll fit in with our lads no problem.

“He has actually got a goal in him and, while he’s not the biggest (5ft 7in), he he’s one of those who punches well above his weight.

“He’s been a good pro for all the clubs he has played for. He was involved in Reading’s push for promotion last year.”

He added: “He’s out-of-contract in the summer. If we like him and he likes us, there could be something. We’ve got him for 28 days and we can extend that, though they would probably include a recall if that was the case.” Tabb was a regular for Reading in the first half of the season, but his last appearance was on January 5. McCarthy, however, says he’s ready to go straight into the Blues’ team.

He said: “Oh yeah, he’s ready. He’s as fit as a flea. He’s a real industrious, left-sided midfield player. Whether it’s wide left or tucked in.”

After initially appearing reluctant to say who would start at right-back in the place of Stearman, Mccarthy said: “Elliott Hewitt is playing. He’s been banging on the door for this game and I think that he’s been doing great.” Town beat a host of clubs to the signing of the highly-rated teenager in the summer, paying Macclesfield £150,000 for his signature. He impressed when starting in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Aston Villa in January and looked bright as a substitute at The City Ground in midweek.

Asked about Edwards and Emmanuel-Thomas, McCarthy said: “Carlos iss alright. He’s trained today and we’ll see if there’s any reaction. Jay’s alright too – he was just poorly.”

And revealing Chopra’s injury, he said: “Michael Chopra has got a real bad dead leg, so he’s unavailable.

“We’ve done no training Wednesday/Thursday, we’ve just had a short session today. I have to say that the lads’ levels of fitness are terrific though.

“I’ll have three pairs of fresh legs because Chops, Stears and Lee Martin can’t play. It might do us some good to have those fresh legs in the team anyway.”

– See tomorrow’s EADT for full match preview.