When you watch him in training, you realise how important Cole Skuse is for Ipswich Town, says Blues boss

Cole Skuse

Cole Skuse

Mick McCarthy will welcome back one of Ipswich Town’s unsung heroes when the Blues step into the Lions’ Den, for what could be an uncomfortable afternoon tomorrow.

Consistent Cole Skuse has missed Town’s last two games – both defeats, against Derby County in the Championship and Southampton, in the FA Cup –following a bout of illness that has also affected a number of other players.

Tomorrow’s opponents Millwall are desperate to register three points, following their 4-0 FA Cup Third Round humbling at the hands of League One Bradford City, in midweek.

And Skuse’s calming midfield influence could prove crucial, with Town also keen to register another maximum that could put them top of the Championship come full-time.

Skuse has yet to open his goal account in 64 starts for Town, but McCarthy is a big admirer of the former Bristol City man.

“He gives you composure and he’s very measured in what he does – he helps control the tempo of the game for us,” said McCarthy, who will be missing Teddy Bishop, with the same bug that sidelined Skuse, tomorrow.

“Watching him in training, you realise how important he is to us. Whether or not the results (against Derby and Southampton) would have been different (had Skuse played), I don’t know, because when you start talking about how much you have missed someone, it is detrimental to the ones that have played and I don’t like doing that.

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“Those lads have done nothing wrong, but Skusey’s been outstanding all season.”

Millwall, who provided McCarthy’s first position in management, have the league’s worst home defensive record and have registered just two wins in their last 20 league games, home and away.

“The Den will be rocking if Millwall can get off to a good start,” said McCarthy, who is also without goalkeeper, Dean Gerken (hip).

“If you can stop that and get the first goal, they (Millwall fans) can turn on their players very quickly.”

Elsewhere tomorrow, second-top Derby host bitter rivals Nottingham Forest, while leaders Bournemouth travel to Rotherham.