Youngsters have to do it for Joe

NOT for the first time, a lot rests on some of Ipswich Town's young guns but manager Joe Royle has faith they will deliver.Ian Westlake, a former England water polo player, will be thrown in the deep end tonight at Crystal Palace with Alan Mahon ruled out with a hamstring injury.

NOT for the first time, a lot rests on some of Ipswich Town's young guns but manager Joe Royle has faith they will deliver.

Ian Westlake, a former England water polo player, will be thrown in the deep end tonight at Crystal Palace with Alan Mahon ruled out with a hamstring injury.

The results of a scan will be revealed this morning but the signs are not good with Mahon limping heavily last night as fluid built up around the hamstring.

With the Republic of Ireland winger expected to be out for up to six weeks Royle may well dip back into the loan market but won't consider any movement until tomorrow. Instead he will pin his faith in Town's home-grown talent.


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Blues boss Royle last night said: "This is a big night for Westy. He has started a couple of games but he has done all his best work so far as a substitute. This is the time for him to show he has developed."

And 19-year-old Matt Bloomfield could make his league bow at some stage with skipper Jim Magilton a huge doubt and Tommy Miller not 100% match fit.

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Royle said: "Jim is 50/50 at best but we really need him to play. Tommy did well but he is not fit and the last thing we need is for him to blow a gasket at this stage.

"Matt Bloomfield has not had that many games himself due to injury and is inexperienced. But he is a game lad and I'm sure if called on he would not let us down.

"But we have no choice at the moment and it is at times like this when young talent gets its chance it can turn out well."

With vice-captain Chris Makin not yet fit enough for a return, Royle will address the dilemma over who should be captain, only if Magilton fails to start.

He said: "It will be between Fabian Wilnis and Chris Bart-Williams, there is a case for both. But I won't consider that until I know for sure about Jim. I want our captain to play; he is a massive influence but I won't risk him for one game only to lose him for more when there is so much of the season left."

Injury-hit Blues go searching for their fifth win in a row with all the omens pointing to a draw. Although Palace have not won a Tuesday night league game at home for 20 months, they have not lost to Ipswich at Selhurst Park since 1987 and have won four of the eight games played. Worryingly for Town, Ipswich have not won a Tuesday night league game in the past four seasons.

Royle said: "I'm surprised at Palace's record. In all my time as a player or a manager I have never thought of Selhurst Park as an easy place to go. We got a draw there last year and were perhaps a bit fortunate with Marcus Bent scoring late on, so we could well have lost."

Palace have won once in their last 10 games resulting in pressure on Royle's old friend Steve Kember.

He said: "I know Steve well, we played together for England under-23s many years ago. It is strange he is under so much pressure after so little time in the job. But then 10% of managers have lost their jobs already so everyone is under pressure."

Supporters are reminded that tonight's kick-off is at 8pm which is the norm at Selhurst Park to allow for getting to the ground.

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