Westlake injury blow

IPSWICH Town face the prospect of playing for the next six weeks without midfield dynamo Ian Westlake.The 21-year-old from Clacton suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town face the prospect of playing for the next six weeks without midfield dynamo Ian Westlake.

The 21-year-old from Clacton suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday. An X-ray showed that no bones were broken but until the swelling goes down the full extent of his injury will not be known.

An ever-present in the league this season, Westlake is hoping to return to action as early as possible, but he has resigned himself to the likelihood of missing out on four high-profile Championship games.

He said: “Everybody wants to play in games like the ones coming up against Sheffield United, Southampton, Norwich and Crystal Palace.

“These are the matches where you want to show what you can do. I am using crutches to get around at the moment and hopefully I will know more at the weekend.”

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Westlake has been virtually injury-free since he broke into the first team, and he has now made a total of 105 senior appearances.

A vital member of Ipswich's midfield, Westlake (pictured right) added: “I am devastated, and it is so annoying. I have been very fortunate with injuries right through from my youth team days, which makes it worse now to have to sit on the sidelines.

“I have scored against Sheffield United in my previous three games against them - and was looking to add to that tally.

“And matches against Southampton, Norwich and Crystal Palace are also big ones that no one likes to miss.”

Explaining how the injury happened, Westlake added: “It was a nothing situation and there was no tackle involved. I went to turn and check, and my ankle gave way.

“I have done similar moves dozens of times, but in this instance the ankle took all of my body weight.”

Westlake is wearing a special boot that takes pressure off his ankle, so that the swelling does not get worse.

He is putting ice packs on at regular intervals.

Ipswich can still bring in loan players despite the transfer window being closed and it remains to be seen whether manager Joe Royle seeks a temporary replacement or utilises his current midfield of Jim Magilton, Darren Currie, Kevin Horlock and Owen Garvan.

Matt Richards, who has played over a 100 matches at full-back, may also come into consideration for a switch to the left side of midfield with new loan signing Jay McEveley expected to make his Town debut at left back at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Some good news for Royle is that experienced defender Jason De Vos stands a 'big chance' of being fit for the visit to Championship leaders Sheffield United.

The 31-year-old was sore after playing 90 minutes against Arsenal in a reserve game at Portman Road on Monday.

It was his first match action since cracking a rib in the opening game of the season against Cardiff City.

Royle said last night: “Jason is a bit sore and he did not train today. We will monitor him, but he has a big chance of being fit for the game at Bramall Lane.”

The Town boss watched a strong Gunners side beat 10-man Town 4-2 in a game where defender Aidan Collins was sent off for a professional foul in the 12th minute.

Dean Bowditch struck a couple of goals while Horlock and McEveley came through a full game with no ill-effects.

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