Kuqi on the bench at Watford

SHEFKI Kuqi will be on the Ipswich Town bench against Watford this afternoon after agreeing an initial three-month loan.Fit-again Darren Bent and Alun Armstrong will lead the attack but Kuqi is expected to make his debut at Vicarage Road although he only trained with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday morning after making the switch from Second Division Sheffield Wednesday.

SHEFKI Kuqi will be on the Ipswich Town bench against Watford this afternoon after agreeing an initial three-month loan.

Fit-again Darren Bent and Alun Armstrong will lead the attack but Kuqi is expected to make his debut at Vicarage Road although he only trained with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday morning after making the switch from Second Division Sheffield Wednesday.

With Alan Mahon failing to recover from a thigh strain, Ian Westlake will start and Matt Bloomfield, who made his Town debut on Tuesday, has been drafted into the squad.

Kuqi was unhappy at playing Second Division football with relegated Wednesday and is aiming to show he is good enough to play at the highest level.


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He said: “I believe I'm good enough to be playing in the First Division, if not the Premiership, and with Ipswich I can achieve that.

“I know Ipswich have not had the best of starts but it is clear with the players they have here the team is good enough to push for a play-off position at least and I want to play my part in helping the club get there.”

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And he will look for two other former Owls to create the chances for him, with Jim Magilton and Chris-Bart Williams both previously at Wednesday.

He said: “My strengths are in and around the penalty box and if I get the right service I'm sure I will score goals here.”

The Finnish international finally agreed the move to Portman Road after an almost one-year pursuit by Blues boss Joe Royle after he was recommended by Willie Donachie who worked with Kuqi at Hillsborough.

The EADT first reported Royle's interest in Kuqi last November and Ipswich were again thwarted in their attempt to sign the Finn when Wednesday wanted Tommy Miller in exchange.

Royle has been unhappy with his strikers since first arriving at Ipswich almost a year ago, putting Alun Armstrong on the free transfer list until he managed to move Marcus Bent out.

Although Kuqi is their top scorer this season, Owls boss Chris Turner was happy to move the 26-year-old out of Hillsborough. He said: “In the short, and long term, this will be a good deal for everyone. He has scored five goals but by his own admission could have scored 15. None of the other strikers have scored so we have not got a partnership that is gelling.”

n The kick off against Sunderland on Tuesday will now be at 8pm.

n Town's reserve game against Tottenham Hotspur has been switched from Stevenage on Monday to Portman Road on Wednesday evening with a 7pm kick-off.

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