Westlake falls foul of flu

THE flu bug has bitten once again with Ian Westlake struggling to be fit in time for Ipswich Town's FA Cup tie with Derby County on Saturday, writes Derek Davis.

THE flu bug has bitten once again with Ian Westlake struggling to be fit in time for Ipswich Town's FA Cup tie with Derby County on Saturday, writes Derek Davis.

The midfielder joins Tommy Miller and John McGreal, who have been in their sick beds this week.

Blues boss Joe Royle is now sweating to see who else will be hit as he tries to extend his unbeaten record over George Burley's Rams to four games. Although Town have taken all the precautions they can to prevent a further outbreak, they recognise it is almost impossible to contain the bug.

Royle said: "We offer anti-flu jabs but not everyone wants them and we can't make it compulsory.

"Some players faint at the sight of a needle and say they would rather get the flu, thank you."

Ipswich will once again welcome back Burley to Portman Road, and the man who brought the Blues top scorer Pablo Counago will give a debut to another Spaniard at Portman Road when he bloods Manuel Fernandez (known as Manel).

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The 30-year-old, released by Espanyol, has scored around 100 goals in 226 Spanish goals, mainly in the equivalent of the English Division One.

Burley recognises the gamble but insists his basement club need goals.

He said: "Bringing in a foreign player is always a gamble, but I believe Manel has the ability to cope.

"Of course it can take a little longer for a player from abroad to settle compared to a striker who knows the English game.

"Manel is much more experienced than Pablo so hopefully he will settle in quicker.

"He is a good finisher, useful in the air, has a good touch and offers a physical presence."

Meanwhile, Andy Marshall is due back at Portman Road today after his loan spell at Wolves expired.

The Town keeper is hoping to be fixed up with a Premiership club during the transfer window, which opened today and closes at the end of the month.

Royle has made it clear that Nathan Abbey will continue to deputise for Kelvin Davis while Lewis Price recovers from a finger injury.

Chris Hogg has agreed to stay at Third Division Boston United until the end of the season.

Ipswich have been linked with Yeovil striker Kevin Gall, a 21-year-old who joined the Glovers on a free transfer from Bristol Rovers.

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