Town stars sort out tunnel bust-up

IRISH international Keith Gillespie has escaped punishment after thumping Blues' defender Danny Karbassiyoon in a tunnel bust-up.The Leicester City winger threw the punch as the teams left the pitch at the end of Town's 2-1 win at Portman Road on Saturday.

By Derek Davis

IRISH international Keith Gillespie has escaped punishment after thumping Blues' defender Danny Karbassiyoon in a tunnel bust-up.

The Leicester City winger threw the punch as the teams left the pitch at the end of Town's 2-1 win at Portman Road on Saturday.

A number of Blues' players, led by skipper Jim Magilton, leapt to the quiet American's aid and dealt with Gillespie, as a minor scuffle broke out.


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Stewards acted quickly and the melee swiftly ended as City and Town players were ushered into their respective dressing rooms.

Although Gillespie was understood to be the instigator, he will not face disciplinary action, after referee Kevin Wright omitted the incident from his write-up.

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An FA spokesman said last night: “Nothing was mentioned in the referee's report and, unless we get a complaint from elsewhere, no further action will be taken.”

Gillespie is understood to have been angered by a sturdy challenge by the Virginian late in the match.

The former Blackburn Rovers' winger was involved in a couple of incidents during the match which, although they never erupted, had their moments in terms of physical confrontations, although the referee never picked up on any violent acts.

A number of Town players ended with lumps and bruises, while Shefki Kuqi needed an operation to stem a deep gash, which cut into the muscle, after Dion Dublin had accidentally caught him with his studs.

The incident in the tunnel highlighted the all-for-one-and-one-for-all attitude of the Town players, who have shown this season they will not be intimidated, either legally or illegally.

One player who can handle himself in physical confrontations is James Scowcroft, on the Leicester side on Saturday but travelling to Preston today as an Ipswich Town player.

He will partner Darren Bent up front and the young striker is relishing playing alongside a player he used to admire from afar.

With Scowcroft making his last appearance for Town as a substitute in the final game of the Premiership season, when the Blues finished fifth after a 1-1 draw at Derby County, Bent made his debut in the UEFA Cup three months later against Helsingborg, so the pair have never played together before.

Bent said: “I'm really looking forward to it. We never had the chance before but I used to watch Scowie from the stands.

“He is a quality player and I'm glad he is on our side again.”

After starting 24 matches playing alongside Kuqi, and netting 29 goals between them, Bent is determined to overhaul his former strike partner.

He said: “I'll miss Shefki, he is a massive player for us and great to play alongside.”

Both players had targeted 20 goals apiece and Bent joked: “Now he is gone, I will be looking to get back on top as leading scorer but, even if he had been here, I would have beaten him.”

The players had the day off yesterday and will fly to the north-west today and stay in Preston overnight.

Kevin Horlock and Dean Bowditch look good bets to be involved, after shoulder and foot injuries respectively.

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