TEAM NEWS: Academy trio Kyle Hammond, Byron Lawrence and Matt Clarke drafted into the Ipswich Town squad for FA Cup replay at Preston
- Credit: James Ager
Preston v Ipswich: Blues boss Mick McCarthy has drafted academy trio Kyle Hammond, Byron Lawrence and Matthew Clarke into his injury-hit squad for tomorrow night’s FA Cup third round replay at League One side Preston North End.
Daryl Murphy (thigh) and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (hamstring) remain sidelined, while Luke Chambers (tight hamstring), Aaron Cresswell (fluid on the knee), Cole Skuse (dead leg) and Anthony Wordsworth (tonsillitis) will not be risked.
Attack-minded right-back Hammond (18), technically-gifted midfielder Lawrence and defender/midfielder Clarke (both 17) will all be on the bench, along with 35-year-old player/coach Alan Lee, at Deepdale.
The victorious side will travel to Nottingham Forest for a Friday night fourth round match (January 24).
Chambers limped off the field late on in Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to QPR, McCarthy explaining: “He’s struggling. It’s a tight hamstring. And with only five recognised defenders I’m not going to risk him. He won’t be playing.
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“Skusey has got a dead leg as well, that’s somebody else who won’t be involved.
“Cressy has had a bit of fluid on his knee. He’ll be fine for Saturday (Championship match at Millwall), but I’m not prepared to risk any of them. It’s not about picking and choosing the game. It’s just that I’d sooner they miss one game and then be ready for the next 10 or 15.”
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On Wordsworth, he said: “I haven’t seen him since we played against Preston nine or 10 days ago. He’s had tonsillitis, a real bad dose of it. I’m hoping he’s in today, but he’s not got a chance for tomorrow.
“Daryl Murphy is the same. He’ll be back in training today, but we’re not going to risk him.
“We’ve only got a small squad and I need to make sure they all stay fit.”
On the trio of youngsters called up to the squad as a result, the Blues boss said: “Kyle Hammond and Byron Lawrence have been involved with the first team recently and they are both travelling again. Matt Clarke is travelling as well to make up the 18. We’ve got an age representation from about 15 to 35!
“I like their attitude, as much as anything. They can obviously play because otherwise they wouldn’t be here. Both Kyle and Byron are pushing, they both want to be players and let’s hope it turns out that way.
“Matt Clarke is just a kid I came across when he trained on the pitch for us during the open day. He was so nervous, he was like a kitten that stuck his head into Battersea Dogs’ Home!
“I can just see him getting better and better. They all like him in the academy and he’s blossoming. He’s travelling with us, whether he gets the chance to be involved or not we’ll see.
“He plays centre-half or midfield. I just think he’s worth taking with us. I’m suggesting for one minute I’ll stick him on the field, but being involved will do him a lot of good. I’ve got two defenders injured and he can play there.”
Asked if Chambers’ absence meant Hammond might make his first team debut, he replied: “Well, we’ll see. Carlos (Edwards) can play there (right-back) of course.
“I want to play as strong a team as I possibly can. I want to win the game. I wanted to win the game last time. I don’t know how (Preston manager) Simon (Grayson) will feel about it. They’ve got important league games coming up too and, having lost to Wolves on Saturday, he might look to make a few changes.
“Yes, I’m making changes, but I’ll keep it as strong as I possibly can.
“It’s just another game. I’m not thinking it’s going to hinder us being in the top six. What will stop us getting in the top six is if we don’t take out chances when we’re on top, like we did against QPR, and then make mistakes like we did which will cost us three goals. That’s what will be a hindrance.”
– See tomorrow’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full match preview.