Shefki steps closer to Wigan game

SHEFKI Kuqi could today take a major step towards playing against Wigan as his amazing recovery continues at pace, writes Derek Davis.Blues boss Joe Royle last night admitted he was considering including the leading marksman in today's training and has not ruled out the possibility of taking him to Wigan tomorrow.

SHEFKI Kuqi could today take a major step towards playing against Wigan as his amazing recovery continues at pace, writes Derek Davis.

Blues boss Joe Royle last night admitted he was considering including the leading marksman in today's training and has not ruled out the possibility of taking him to Wigan tomorrow.

Kuqi is making good progress after suffering a deep gash inside a knee that left him with a split muscle. He was given the all-clear to step up training by a specialist on Monday but club and player are wary about him returning too early. The Town party fly to the north-west tomorrow and will train in the afternoon and again on Saturday morning.

Royle said: I will decide in the morning about Shefki training with the first-team squad. He has trained with Simon Thadani and it has gone well so we will see.


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“After that we will decide on Friday about including him in the squad.”

With James Scowcroft and Jason De Vos suspended, the Blues are going to have to make a number of changes against league leaders Wigan.

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David Unsworth is expected to move into the middle of defence alongside Richard Naylor with either Arsenal loanee Danny Karbassiyoon or Matt Richards going in at left-back. Ian Westlake is likely to win his starting midfield place back, which would see either skipper Jim Magilton or Kevin Horlock dropping out.

Darren Bent has been suffering from a sore knee of late but is not considered a doubt and would resume his partnership with Kuqi, with the pair needing one more goal to rack up 30 goals between them this season.

Pablo Counago would provide the physical bite needed up front if Kuqi doesn't make it but would be required to do more tracking back and holding the ball up to get into the manager's good books. Dean Bowditch is another alternative in attack.

Drissa Diallo and Jimmy Juan are both making good progress and could figure in Town's reserve game at Southampton next Wednesday.

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