Town sweating on Colback callback

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane is keeping his fingers crossed that he doesn't receive an alarm call from Sunderland manager Steve Bruce this week.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane is keeping his fingers crossed that he doesn't receive an alarm call from Sunderland manager Steve Bruce this week.

The Black Cats are so short of midfield players that loanee Jack Colback could be on his way back to the north east.

There is a 24-hour recall clause in the deal that sees the 20-year-old on loan at Portman Road until the end of the season.

Ideally, Bruce is happy for Colback to gain first team experience in the Championship.

But Keane's former Manchester United team-mate faces going into Saturday's game against Arsenal and the following weekend's 'must-win' home game against Fulham with just two fit midfielders.

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Colback is regarded at Sunderland as being ahead of fellow former youth team player David Meyler, who was sent off in the Premier League fixture at Portsmouth last midweek.

Colback has been a regular in recent weeks for Ipswich, having grown in stature since his arrival on an initial loan deal to January.

His departure would be a loss as the player, who captained Sunderland's youth team last season and helped the reserves to win their league, is pencilled in at left-back for Ipswich's Championship game at bottom-of-the-table Peterborough tomorrow.

“I'm happy for Jack to gain experience with Ipswich,” said Bruce. “He will come back to us a better player. But we have got a 24-hour recall clause.”

Skipper Lorik Cana and wide player Boudewijn Zenden are the only midfielders likely to be available to Bruce when his side look for their first league win since November when they travel to the Emirates Stadium at the weekend.

They are on the edge of the relegation battle and fans are already looking at the visit of Fulham as a must-win match to stop the rot. Meyler will now sit out a three-match ban, while Lee Cattermole was also sent off at Fratton Park and is currently under suspension.

On top of this, Andy Reid has a hamstring problem that will keep him out for up to three weeks and Steve Malbranque, the most substituted player in the Premier League, collapsed against Portsmouth with chest pains, although he was allowed to fly home with his team-mates after a hospital check.

Fraizer Campbell is a possible candidate to drop back to midfield, but the front man is injured as well.