Town gunning for Premier League scalp

VICTORY over Premier League Wigan Athletic in the Carling Cup third round at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) would be a massive scalp for Ipswich Town.

Elvin King

VICTORY over Premier League Wigan Athletic in the Carling Cup third round at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm) would be a massive scalp for Ipswich Town.

So says Blues manager Jim Magilton who added: “We want to keep our current run going. We are unbeaten in three games.

“Confidence and self belief is building within the squad and to this end it will not be a bad thing to make a change or two.

“We have got to be able to depend on the guys who have been waiting to come in, and they need to know that they are still very much involved.

“It would be a massive scalp for us to beat a top-flight club and we have the squad that can do that.

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“We are in the middle of a very hectic period, and tonight's cup game gives me an opportunity to rest a couple of players and keep them fresh for Saturday's home Coca-Cola Championship match against Crystal Palace.”

While Jon Stead is cup tied after playing for the first half of Sheffield United's second round victory over Huddersfield, Magilton is set to rest club captain Richard Naylor.

“Richard has been through a lot injury-wise and I am wary of him taking on too much too soon,” said Magilton, who confirmed that striker Dean Bowditch will come into the picture tonight.

“Dean has done well in the reserves and he will be considered,” said Magilton, who is able to name seven substitutes in the Carling Cup but can only use three.

“I agreed a new contract with him during the summer, and I like him.”

Alex Bruce is set to start at the back and Ben Thatcher will come into consideration having been out with a dead leg. Ivan Campo may also be in line for a start.

Pablo Counago is to go to London to see a specialist on an ankle problem he sustained in training on Friday. And Magilton admits that the Spaniard may be out for a while.

“It is more worrying than we first thought, but we will see how the visit to London goes.”

Counago is already a big doubt for the Palace game, and will therefore have to wait before making his 150th Town league appearance.

Shane Supple was given the nod to play the Carling Cup first round match against Leyton Orient, but Richard Wright was between the posts for the second round win over Colchester United.

If Wright plays tonight it will be his 300th game for the Blues. Tommy Miller and Danny Haynes will be in line for a recall in midfield while three-goal Kevin Lisbie is set to come in for his first start since Watford away.

- TOWN manager Jim Magilton went to see young defender Tommy Smith in hospital on Monday night after his return from Belfast.

And he has assured the 18-year-old that he will receive all the support he requires as he recovers from a broken ankle.

“It's a big blow for the lad and a big blow for us. And it's put a dampener over our game tonight,” said Magilton.

“I am sure he will bounce back as good as new. He will get all the support he needs from our medical team and everyone else at the club.”

Smith, who made his first team debut in the opening day defeat to Preston, is expected to be out until March.

Tonight's line-ups

Ipswich Town: R Wright, Volz, McAuley, Bruce, D Wright, Norris, Haynes, Shumulikoski, Garvan, Miller, Quinn, Walters, Lisbie, Supple, Thatcher, Balkestein, Campo, Bowditch, Peters, Naylor.

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Figueroa, Boyce, Bramble, Melchiot, Valencia, Scharner. Palacios, Koumas, Heskey, Camara, Kapo, Pollitt, De Ridde, Brown, Kupisz, Cattermole, Zaki, Kilkbane. Kingson.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).

Richard Wright Ipswich record

League 247, Play-Offs 9, FA Cup 13, League Cup 28, Anglo Italian Cup 2 Total 299.