Town can make it best start for six years

IPSWICH TOWN: What a difference a year makes.

At this stage last season – going into their 11th Championship game – the Blues had mustered just five points and were still searching for their first win of the campaign.

A win against Coventry City at Portman Road today (kick-off 3pm) will see Ipswich move up to 21 points, which would be their best start for six years.

Skipper David Norris and young midfielder Luke Hyam are available after suspension, but defender Darren O’Dea will be missing having undergone a knee operation that could keep him out for six weeks.

Coventry City have lost on their last four visits to Suffolk including last season when Pablo Counago netted a late winner after Richard Wood had equalised for the Sky Blues into a 95th minute.

The visitors will be without defender James McPake who is suffering from concussion.

The 26-year-old Scot was injured during a training session when he headed another player’s head.

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McPake had only just returned to fitness having recovered from a groin problem with Coventry boss Aidy Boothroyd saying:

“James as brave as a lion and goes into situations you wouldn’t put a bulldozer in.

“He’s utterly fearless and he’s got a whack on the head in a practice match because he went to head a ball and somebody headed his head. There aren’t many people who put themselves into that position.

“You want that sort of bravery in your team, but sometimes you have to try to put the reins on them.”

McPake has only started 20 games for Coventry since his move from Livingstone in January 2009 because of a string of injuries. Since joining the Sky Blues, he has had a double hernia and dislocated shoulder, both injuries being long term.

Marlon King is unlikely to start with Boothroyd adding: “It might be a little bit too soon for him”.

On-loan Bolton midfielder Danny Ward has undergone a hernia operation, while keeper Kieren Westwood has a jaw injury. Scans showed no break and the former Carlisle man is expected to be okay.

Defenders Chris Hussey (foot) and Stephen O’Halloran (back) and midfielders Gary Deegan (ankle), David Bell (groin) and Isaac Osbourne (knee) are all longer-term absentees for Coventry who started last season with a home victory over the Blues at the Ricoh Arena.

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