Town set for keeper gamble

A BROKEN toe suffered by 17-year-old youth team keeper Shane Supple has left Ipswich desperately trying to bring in a loan keeper this morning, writes Derek Davis.

A BROKEN toe suffered by 17-year-old youth team keeper Shane Supple has left Ipswich desperately trying to bring in a loan keeper this morning, writes Derek Davis.

Town have until 12 noon to register a loan stopper and, if they fail to do so, will not have a recognised keeper on the bench at Watford this afternoon.

The Blues had hoped to register 40-year-old goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes but failed to get the paperwork through in time for yesterday's lunchtime deadline.

If anything happens to Lewis Price this afternoon then it is likely Richard Naylor would don the goalkeeping jersey.

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No. 1 keeper Kelvin Davis will not be risked, even though he is making good progress from his back injury.

As an ex-Luton Town player and devotee, Davis knows that if he had been fit to play at Vicarage Road today he would have been in for a shed-load of stick - and would have loved every minute of it.

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Davis declared: “I love going to Watford and winning. I really enjoy it. I always get a nice reception when I go there, so it is disappointing not be playing because I do enjoy the banter between myself and the fans.”

Removing tongue from cheek, Davis admitted he was impressed at the way 11th-placed Watford have started the season.

He said: “They have surprised a few people, and they are not finished yet. They have some decent players and any team with a bit of confidence will be a threat.

“At home, they will be dangerous and they have the likes of Neil Ardley, who I was with at Wimbledon, along with Jermaine Darlington. They will cause problems and it will not be an easy game.”

Unfortunately, the league's No. 1 keeper, according to his manager, misses his third game in a row due to a back ligament strain.

The injury was picked up in the first half against Reading and he has missed out on three games since.

Davis said: “It has taken longer than I expected but we are getting there. I will continue the gym work and I will look to be in full training in the next couple of days.

“Basically, it is ligament damage and that is no different to having a knee or ankle ligament damage. It takes time to heal, and that is what is happening, but it is not a long-term problem, certainly not something that will affect me for life.”

A run out in the reserves at home against Southampton on Monday has been ruled out as a tad too early but he will concentrate on full training instead.

He said: “I will possibly be fit for Monday but I would not have done enough training and so I probably won't be involved.”

In his absence, Wales Under-21 keeper Price has been doing a sterling job, saving a penalty at Coventry and putting in two man-of-the-match performances since.

No one has been more pleased for the understudy than Davis himself.

He said: “The timing of his saves have been great. At home against Burnley, he made one or two decent saves which kept us in the game. It was the same at Leicester, when the game was so delicately poised .

“Lewis is an Under-21 international and has everything that makes a goalkeeper a great keeper.

“That is something I have known since I first came here, and the opportunity has come along for him and he has performed well.

“I'm glad he has had a chance and he had done well. The aim is promotion and he has kept us in that.”

Price's performances have also meant there is no need to panic in the Town camp, meaning Davis is not under any undue pressure to return before he is fully ready.

He said: “Personally, although I'm trying to get back as quickly as I can, I don't feel that I am under any pressure to rush back sooner than I have to.

“If Pricey was not doing so well, they may have looked to get someone in for a month, and that would have caused me problems, so it was simpler that he came in did well and that is what he has done.”

The dilemma for the manager, though, is does he drop Price for Davis, something the No. 1 is not concerned about - yet.

He added: “I will worry about that when I am fit. At the moment all I'm worrying about is getting myself back to full fitness and being ready to play football.

“I have not experienced a long-term injury before and so for me to be out for four weeks now is hard to swallow. So all I can do is focus on getting fit and then take it from there.”

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