Westlake is raring to go for Blues

IAN Westlake is fit and ready but knows a starting return against Coventry City on Saturday is by no means a certainty.

IAN Westlake is fit and ready but knows a starting return against Coventry City on Saturday is by no means a certainty, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues energetic midfielder returned to first-team action with a substitute appearance against Plymouth almost a fortnight ago after an ankle injury.

He played 90 minutes for the reserves on Monday against Spurs and while the 21-year-old was a virtual fixture in Joe Royle's starting line-up before he suffered an ankle problem, Town's ever-growing complement of midfielders means Westlake is not taking anything for granted.

The Blues boss has a plethora of midfielders to choose from, although Owen Garvan remains on the injured list while Vemund Brekke-Skard needs a groin operation but can't play until January anyway.

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Matt Richards opened a few eyes with his performances in central middle against Derby and Plymouth, while Jimmy Juan has also impressed as he gets used to English football.

With Kevin Horlock and Jim Magilton proven veterans, Darren Currie a serial match-winner, and Adam Proudlock, Dean Bowditch and Jaime Peters comfortable playing in wide midfield, competition for places is fierce.

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Westlake said: “It is a big squad now with a lot of good players so the first thing for me is to be in the squad.

“It is good to have the competition but hopefully I can be involved.”

Wales international midfielder Gavin Williams has been added to the mix and barring any reaction to last night's game in Cyprus, is almost a definite starter at Coventry City on Saturday.

Westlake said: “Gavin has looked good - really tidy and a good player, it will be good to play with him, if I'm in the team.”

The Blues drew 2-2 with City at Portman Road last month and will be looking to maintain their record of never having lost to them this century.

Micky Adams' side have slipped to fourth bottom of the Championship while Ipswich are in mid-table and only two points off the play-off places.

Westlake sees this as a good opportunity for Town to kick on but is not looking at how poorly City are doing, rather how Ipswich are improving.

He said: “ I don't worry about how well, or otherwise Coventry are playing we have to concentrate on what we are doing.”

n Ipswich Town's game at Norwich City on Sunday, February 5 will now kick off at 11.15am at the request of Sky TV.

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