McEveley returns to Town squad

JAY McEveley is a surprise inclusion in the Blues' 18-man squad travelling up to Preston today.

JAY McEveley is a surprise inclusion in the Blues' 18-man squad travelling up to Preston today, writes Derek Davis.

The on-loan defender, who suffered medial ligament injuries during the 2-1 defeat at Cardiff in November, is added to the party as part of his rehabilitation and it is unlikely that he will be part of the 16.

The Blackburn defender was delighted to be returning to his native north-west and is keen to get back to playing, although he has no illusions about taking part at Preston.

McEveley last night said: “It is great to feel involved again. I'm travelling up with the team and will take part in the training and go out on the pitch with the lads but I don't expect to get back in the team.

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“Ideally I will get some full training sessions in and then play 45 minutes in the reserves game at Watford in 10 days' time. If that goes well then the plan is to push on against Chelsea the week after.

“If I can get seven reserve games under my belt by the end of the season that would be great. If I were to play in the first team at all that would be a big bonus.

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“The team is doing so well at the moment that I couldn't expect to get back in anyway.”

McEveley's return is ahead of schedule and the England Under-21 international full-back is delighted at the way his recovery has gone.

He said: “The operation was very successful and it has all gone well since then. I have worked my socks off to try and maintain my fitness so I won't be a million miles when I get back to playing but this is a big boost for me mentally.”

Town's major injury worry going to Preston is the fitness of Fabian Wilnis who is struggling with a jarred knee.

Alan Lee and Jimmy Juan came through training without any problems but no decision will be made on whether they start or not until tomorrow morning.

Manager Joe Royle said: “We will leave it until the last possible moment for all three players. Jimmy came flying through training on Thursday while Alan was a little more hesitant. Both will train Friday and Saturday with Fabian joining in as well.”

Meanwhile, joint-leading scorer Sam Parkin has had an injection in his heel to try and help his recovery from a broken ankle and will spend next week recovering before looking to step up his training.

Ipswich Town squad: Supple, Price, Wilnis, McEveley, Sito, Barron, Naylor, De Vos, Brekke Skard, Magilton, Currie, Juan, Garvan, Westlake, Richards, Haynes, McDonald, Lee.

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