Thatcher may feature against Birmingham

BEN Thatcher could come straight back into the Ipswich Town side against Birmingham on Boxing Day after serving his one-match ban.

Derek Davis

BEN Thatcher could come straight back into the Ipswich Town side against Birmingham on Boxing Day after serving his one-match ban.

David Wright battled bravely to finish the age at Coventry with what appeared to be a strained hamstring that needed treatment.

The defender, who has been one of Town most consistent performers again this season, picked up the problem last week and was initially a doubt for the game at the Ricoh Stadium, but was keen to play.

Should he fail to find full fitness by Friday that will open the door for Thatcher, who was sent off against Cardiff City for two bookings, will look to regain his berth at left back.

He faces competition from young Dutch defender Pim Balkestein, who manager Jim Magilton has recently praised.

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After going 4-3-3 at Coventry, Town may revert back to 4-4-2 for the visit of third-placed Birmingham City.

They will have learned lessons from the 2-1 loss at St Andrews when City swamped Town for much of the first half, but sat back a little allowing Ipswich to give a much better account of themselves in the second half.

They will also have had them closely watched at Preston when the Lilywhites came out 1-0 winners.

As well as getting a comprehensive scouting report on Coventry, Magilton went along with another coach to watch City play Charlton before formulating the switch in tactics that saw Kevin Lisbie score twice at the Ricoh Stadium.

It will be interesting to see what plans they have for Alex McLeish's side at Portman Road on Friday.

Veliche Shumulikoski could come back in central midfield, although he is walking a disciplinary tightrope with four bookings.

Owen Garvan is also available after serving a one match ban, while Alex Bruce sits this game and the trip to Derby County as he completes his four-game suspension.