Town unchanged for match with Millers

JOE Royle will stick with the side which comprehensively beat newly-promoted Portsmouth on Good Friday as Ipswich look to leap into the play-off places with a win at Rotherham today.

JOE Royle will stick with the side which comprehensively beat newly-promoted Portsmouth on Good Friday as Ipswich look to leap into the play-off places with a win at Rotherham today, writes Derek Davis.

If Nottingham Forest lose at home to Burnley this afternoon, and Town win, the Blues will force their way into the top six.

Ipswich boss Royle is happy with the way the back four operated against Pompey and the formation allowed him to use in-form Martijn Reuser. He said: "I have always preferred a back four when we have the personnel. We juggled it around a little to accommodate Martijn and it has worked. It is important to be able to utilise Martijn at set pieces, and his right foot."

Influential Jim Magilton, who was unhappy at being substituted on Friday, is fit after being taken off as a precaution after struggling with a groin injury of late.

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Royle added: "Jim has a grump but that is not an injury. He had a sense of humour failure about being taken off but that's him all over – he just wants to play."

Skipper Matt Holland will be making his 50th start of the season for Town and will break the 60-game barrier – adding on his international appearances – should he play at home against Wimbledon on Saturday.

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Dutchman Nabil Abidallah has been added to the squad of 16, which travelled to south Yorkshire last night in place of luckless Ian Westlake. The 19-year-old Clacton lad who has progressed through the Town Academy suffered a medial knee ligament injury in the 3-0 win over Pompey after a crunching challenge in front of the dug-out shortly after going on as a substitute. He will miss the rest of the season but Blues boss Royle is confident he will be back in August.

The boss said: "Westy has done very well and forced his way into the first team with some very good performances in the reserves lately. He is unlucky with his injury but thankfully it is not as bad as John McGreal's medial ligament damage so he will be back for pre-season.

"I have been very pleased with him and he is in the notebook for next season."

The Millermen held Crystal Palace to a goalless draw on Saturday but it may have cost them the services of striker Ritchie Barker who suffered a knee injury and is likely to be replaced by Mark Robins.

He will be partnered by Alan Lee who, along with Matt Holland, has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad for their friendly against Norway on April 30.

Holland has warned Lee will be one to watch today after seeing him at close quarters while on international duty.

Barker's absence will allow 16-year-old Will Hoskins a chance to step into the squad. John Mullin plays his last game of the season as he starts a three-match suspension following a sending off at Stoke. He will miss the last two games of this campaign and the opening game in August.

Former Town defender Chris Swailes will partner Guy Branston, a former loanee to Colchester United, with teenager Shaun Barker and Martin McIntosh at the back, unless they revert back to a five and use Paul Hurst as a wing back. With keeper Mike Pollitt unlikely to return this season after a ligament injury, Ian Gray has been a worthy understudy – even though he knows he is being released in the summer.

The bench includes Paul Warne, a former Jewson League player with Wroxham and Diss Town. On-loan Curtis Woodhouse is 50/50 as he recovers from a knee injury

Today's squads

Rotherham United: Gray, Barker, Swailes, Barton, McIntosh, Hurst, Sedgwick, Mullin, Daws, Robins, Lee, Talbot, Warne, Byfield, Hudson, Hoskins, Woodhouse.

Town: Marshall, Wilnis, Richards, Gaardsoe, Makin, Magilton, Reuser, Holland, M Bent, Counago, Miller, Armstrong, Pullen, Wright, Abidallah, Bowditch.

Referee: Brian Curson (Leicestershire).

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