TEAM NEWS: Luke Hyam will replace Nigel Reo-Coker for visit of Nottingham Forest
Ipswich v Forest: IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy has confirmed that Luke Hyam will replace the injured Nigel Reo-Coker in his midfield for tomorrow night’s visit of Nottingham Forest.
Reo-Coker suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with rock-bottom Peterborough United, with the initial assessment being at least a fortnight out of action.
“We’ll look at him against his morning,” said McCarthy. “We don’t think it is as bad as we first thought, but he’s got no chance for tomorrow and I would think no chance for the weekend (Bolton away). I hate ruling people out though, let’s assess him this morning and see where we go from there.”
Confirming that Hyam – Reo-Coker’s replacement off the bench at the weekend would start – the Blues boss said: “I’ve been pleased with Luke. Quite clearly he seems to be a favourite being a lad who’s come through the club. I think fans always like to see a player come through the youths and he got a warm reception when he came on. I have no worries about him if he has to play at all.
“I spoke to him when I arrived. I knew he’d been in the team, I knew Josh Carson had been in the team, but I decided it was a game for senior players (at Birmingham). We won the game and that was proved right. That doesn’t mean it is going to be like that every game.
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“Luke’s got his head down, trained hard and I thought he was one of the better ones at Walsham-le-Willows. Attitude and the way you go about your job tells me a lot about people.”
Hyam will be partnered by Guirane N’Daw in central midfield, despite the Senegalese player having suffered a nasty cut above his eye during Saturday’s match.
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“He’s alright,” said McCarthy. “I saw him yesterday, but he was struggling to see me! I thought he was excellent. He continued to battle and that was great to see.”
Meanwhile, striker Tyrone Barnett – who was unable to play against parent club Peterborough at the weekend – is set to make his debut.
McCarthy said last week that he was ‘looking at’ the goalkeeper situation after West Ham loanee Stephen Henderson saw his goals against tally rise to 19 in seven games. A section of Blues fans have called for Scott Loach – a boyhood supporter of the club – to return between the sticks, with Henderson getting a few boos when his name was read out prior to Saturday’s game.
The latter produced some important saves in the second half though, with McCarthy confirming he’ll be sticking with the Irishman.
he said: “Scott Loach dealing with it okay, like he has to do. We have three keepers and only one can play. I’m sure when goals are flying in the others might think they’ll be getting a chance, but I think you’ve got to give a bit of faith and bit of belief to goalkeepers.
“I don’t think he (Henderson) had a lot in front of him, protecting him, when all those goals were flying in. He might have done better with a couple of them, but he didn’t have a lot of protection. He was excellent on Saturday I thought.” He added: “I’ve said to players, ‘who can be the one that can get us a point or wins us the game?’ Whether it’s scoring a goal, a last minute tackle, a block on the line or the goalkeeper saving one. Who wants to be that person that makes sure we get something out of the game?
“On Saturday it was Lee Martin getting a penalty. And when we needed Hendo to make the saves he did.”
Town are currently just a point above rock-bottom Peterborough, but could climb out of the Championship relegation zone with victory tomorrow night. Just goal difference keeps Nottingham Forest out of the play-off places, with Sean O’Driscoll’s side having lost once in their last 10 games.
– For full match preview, see tomorrow’s EADT and Ipswich Star.