McGreal misses out

THERE was good news and bad news on the injury front at Portman Road yesterday.Ipswich Town take on Coventry City at Highfield Road tomorrow, but experienced central defender John McGreal will not be making the trip to the Midlands.

THERE was good news and bad news on the injury front at Portman Road yesterday, writes Carl Marston.

Ipswich Town take on Coventry City at Highfield Road tomorrow, but experienced central defender John McGreal will not be making the trip to the Midlands.

McGreal hobbled out of training with a calf injury earlier in the week, which will cause him to miss at least one match, and perhaps even more. It is particularly frustrating for the former Tranmere stalwart, who has been struggling with various injuries for more than a year.

On a brighter note, both defender Georges Santos and front-runner Darren Bent are back in training after their recent ankle problems, and both could figure at Coventry.

Santos missed last Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Sunderland, in an FA Cup fourth round tie, after turning his ankle in training, while Bent has not played since the 3-0 win over Derby County in the previous round of the Cup.

"Darren (Bent) is a better player when he's fresh," said Town boss Joe Royle last night.

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"So there will be no problem with his fitness, even though he hasn't played for a while and has only just returned to training,

"It's hard luck on John (McGreal), though. We don't know how long he will be out, but it's not a bad calf strain, so hopefully it won't be long.

"He didn't get through training. In fact, he had barely started. John has missed a lot of football over the last year, and perhaps this is a little secondary injury. He has hardly missed a day's training since his return," added Royle.

At least McGreal's injury setback has been eased by the imminent return of Santos, and also the availability of fellow defender Drissa Diallo, who was an unused substitute against Sunderland. Diallo is champing at the bit to play again, after battling back from knee ligament damage. He has not started a match since last September.

Manager Royle has options in midfield. Chris Bart-Williams, who missed the Sunderland fixture due to a sore back, is available again, while fellow midfielder Tommy Miller has shrugged off a slight thigh injury that was troubling him at the start of the week.

Meanwhile, keeper Andy Marshall could make his Millwall debut at Crewe tomorrow, after all the paperwork was finalised on his loan move to the Lions.

Marshall, who has not made an appearance for Town this season, and has been told that he can leave Portman Road, will be keen to make an impression at Millwall.

The ex-Norwich keeper would love the chance to resurrect his career at another Division One club.

He might play at Gresty Road tomorrow, if Millwall's regular No.1 Tony Warner fails to recover from an injury.

* IPSWICH Town midfielder Tommy Miller has been named in the Scotland Futures squad to face Wales A in a friendly international next month.

Miller confirmed last night that he had been included in the provisional squad to play Wales in Cardiff on Wednesday, February 18.

And Town manager Joe Royle said last night: "It's deserved recognition for Tommy (Miller). Scotland have requested him to be available for the game against Wales.

"Tommy has taken his time to get going this season, because of injuries, and then he had to fight his way into the team. But he's back to his best and he scored two good goals against Crewe."

Former Hartlepool favourite Miller has been included in the Scottish squad before, but is yet to make his debut.

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