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Reserves entertain Derby

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

RARELY has the goalkeeper's spot in the reserves been so severely scrutinised.

Blues boss Joe Royle will today talk with keeper's coach Malcolm Webster to decide who should be between the sticks for tonight's second-string game against Derby County at Portman Road (7pm).

RARELY has the goalkeeper's spot in the reserves been so severely scrutinised.

Blues boss Joe Royle will today talk with keeper's coach Malcolm Webster to decide who should be between the sticks for tonight's second-string game against Derby County at Portman Road (7pm).

James Pullen and Andy Marshall are vying for a starting place in the huge derby game with Norwich City but whoever plays tonight is not necessarily an indication of who will play at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Royle said: "I will chat with Malcolm and decide what to do. We will see how things go."

The man who starts could be in to give him confidence for Sunday's crunch derby game, but at the same time it may be seen as Royle wanting to ensure the other does not get injured.

Third-string keeper Lewis Price has just recovered from injury but is not ready to play, while Scott Peat has been on the bench for the reserves of late.

Derby are looking to reclaim the FA Premier Reserve League (South) title which they won in the previous two years before Ipswich took it off them last season.

The Rams top the table a point ahead of Fulham and Arsenal while Ipswich are third from bottom with 17 points from 16 games.

Reserve-team boss Steve McCall will not name his squad until after training today when he sees who he has available and following consultation with Royle. Illness has affected a couple of players already with Nabil Abidallah unlikely to be ready.

Alun Armstrong, Martijn Reuser and Richard Naylor are senior players who are likely to be involved.

Impressive young defender Matt Richards, who has pushed his way into the first team is expected to play, although with concerns over his defence Royle may consider saving him for the trip to Norwich.

Midfielder Antonio Murray has made excellent progress this season after suffering shin splints last term. The 18-year-old has been training with the senior squad and if he continues to make the sort of progress he has, could make a cameo appearance in the league before the season's end.

Another who has been training with the first team is 16-year-old Dean Bowditch, the young England striker who is living up to expectation among youth coaches.

Manchester United tried to lure him to Old Trafford and the Bishop's Stortford hit-man could soon be giving Darren Bent a run for his goal-scoring records.

Failure to reach the Premiership could mean many of the current crop of reserves, especially the young ones, making up the nucleus of Town first team next season.


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