Westlake staying home

BLUES boss Joe Royle blocked Ian Westlake's chance to join up with the England Under-21 squad, so he can get his Ipswich form back again.Westlake was due to be called into the squad along with Darren Bent but Royle has been less than impressed with the 20-year-old's performances this season and asked manager Peter Taylor not to pick him.

BLUES boss Joe Royle blocked Ian Westlake's chance to join up with the England Under-21 squad, so he can get his Ipswich form back again.

Westlake was due to be called into the squad along with Darren Bent but Royle has been less than impressed with the 20-year-old's performances this season and asked manager Peter Taylor not to pick him.

Westlake was dropped for the come-from-behind win over Plymouth and then restored against Reading last week.

The midfielder was also left out of the Town starting line-up again on Sunday as they deployed a 4-3-3 formation at Coventry.


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Royle though is confident of seeing the old Westlake again soon.

He said: "It is just a reaction to the first season. There is no real reason for it, perhaps some teams are used to him now, but it will come back for him. He is as fit as he was, sometimes these things are just about instinct and he will find his form again one day just like that.

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"I have great faith in Ian and we had a chat and we decided it would be best if he stayed here and concentrated on Ipswich this time.

"I spoke to Peter (Taylor) and he agreed, although if he has a lot of drop outs through injury, Westy may get a call."

Taylor's England side has lost three members of its squad to play Wales on Friday and Azerbaijan next week.

West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, Liverpool man Jon Welsh and Crewe striker Dean Ashton dropped out after all three picked up knocks at the weekend.

Bent remains hopeful of his first start but after six goals in eight substitute appearances why change things? Carlton Cole and Jon Stead are the likely starters against Wales, who are expected to have Town keeper Lewis Price starting in goal for them.

n Meanwhile, Dean Bowditch is vying for a starting place with Norwich City's Ryan Jarvis in the England Under-19s team against the Czech Republic at Carrow Road on Wednesday.

England manager, Martin Hunter, is a familiar face at the Playford Road camp as he often takes Academy training sessions at the invitation of Bryan Klug.

Jason De Vos is hoping he can get Canada's World Cup campaign back on track when they visit Honduras after a nightmare start beset with injuries, suspensions and horrendous refereeing.

Shefki Kuqi has hooked up with Finland after announcing he would not play for them again while Antii Muurinen was still a coach. But an injury to Mikkel Forsell has opened up a place up front and the Town top scorer with five goals is set to face Armenia at home on Saturday and then Holland in the Amsterdam Arena next week.

Royle is giving the remainder of his squad a light week until next Monday when the preparations for the visit of John McGreal's Burnley begin in earnest.

Meanwhile, Chris Hogg is in the England Under-20 squad to play Holland at Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium on Sunday.

n The first of the Ipswich Town directors' surgeries begins tomorrow at Haverhill Arts Centre. Fans will be able to have 10 minutes each with a director to ask any question they wish between 5pm and 7pm. Derek Bowden and John Kerr will be on hand to meet supporters in Haverhill.

The event will be followed by surgeries in Halesworth, Ipswich and Clacton.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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