Town hope Gaardsoe will be fit

IPSWICH Town are hoping Thomas Gaardsoe recovers sufficiently from a groin strain to take his place in the Blues defence against Nottingham Forest at Portman Road tomorrow, writes Derek Davis.

IPSWICH Town are hoping Thomas Gaardsoe recovers sufficiently from a groin strain to take his place in the Blues defence against Nottingham Forest at Portman Road tomorrow, writes Derek Davis.

Darren Bent is virtually ruled out after a scan earlier in the week revealed a slight tear in a hamstring.

Manager Joe Royle said: "They are the two biggest doubts and we will see how Thomas is before the game. He is at best 50/50.

"We won't take any chances with Darren. He has a slight tear in the hamstring but unless he comes in and trains and says he doesn't feel a thing we won't be tempted – and even then we probably won't risk it."


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Matt Holland returns from international duty today after helping the Republic of Ireland to a win in Georgia and a goalless draw in Albania, a game Royle watched on television.

He said: "Matt is fine I believe, we have not heard otherwise. I was watching every tackle and he seemed OK which is good."

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John McGreal and Finidi George trained with the first team and may get a run out in the reserves against either Watford or West Ham in the next couple of weeks.

Mark Venus is making steady progress and all three could still play a part in the run-in.

Royle said: "The treatment room is the emptiest it has been for some time."

With both teams firing on all cylinders the forwards of both sides could hold the key to tomorrow's success.

"We will see on Saturday who we will use up front. Without Darren we have Pablo and Marcus and we also have Alun Armstrong back after a fractured wrist and young Dean Bowditch could come in, but we will see," added Royle.

Forest could go with three up front with David Johnson, the leading Division One marksman with 22 league goals, fresh after a hamstring injury, Marlon Harewood, who is still remembered for the sitter he missed in front of the Churchmans stand while on loan at Ipswich, who has banged in 18 goals, while on-loan Darren Huckerby has snatched five in six games.

Royle added: "They have been free scoring at home although not quite so much away from home. They are one of the few sides who have beaten us since I have been here, so we would like to avenge that.

"Their results would say they are not so good away from home but they are a good side, they can pass but they are also a physical side so we need to be strong and stand up to that."

Forest wideman Andy Reid sees his sending-off for Republic of Ireland's Under-21s as a blessing in disguise as it gave him extra time to prepare for tomorrow's vital Division One game.

Although an appeal has been lodged, Reid missed the game in Albania and was back at City's training ground earlier in the week.

He said: "It was disappointing to miss the Albania game but at least it gives me a few days to prepare for Saturday. It is such a big game because three points would put us in a really strong position.

"Everyone at the club knows it is a massive game and I can't wait for it."

Former England World Cup star Des Walker finds himself back in Ipswich less than two weeks after being part of a Forest reserve side beaten by a young Town second string.

Ipswich Town squad: Marshall, Pullen, Wilnis, Richards, Naylor, Makin, Holland, Magilton, Wright, Miller, Reuser, Abidallah, Westlake, M Bent, Counago and Armstrong.

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