Haynes to Partner Fuller?
Thursday, 23rd Feb 2006 14:07
Ricardo Fuller will make his debut for the Blues against Leicester City after being granted a work permit on Thursday morning. The Jamaican could partner Danny Haynes who is in with a good chance of returning to the Town starting line-up.
Haynes is back in training after his ankle injury and the Blues are likely to play the 18-year-old alongside Fuller against the rejuvenated Foxes.
Scott Barron, Sito and Fabian Wilnis are also training again after knocks but Jimmy Juan (groin), Gavin Williams (knee) and Jaime Peters (knee) all miss out. Williams is set to return in a month, Juan in around a fortnight and Peters even sooner.
Haynes's return ahead of schedule would still leave fellow frontmen Alan Lee (hamstring), Sam Parkin (ankle) and Nicky Forster (knee cartilage operation) on the sidelines.
If Haynes fails to make it, the Blues may partner Fuller with Dean McDonald or could once again play Darren Currie between the main striker and the midfield. Billy Clarke may receive a recall to the squad in Haynes's absence, although he is not yet fully fit himself after an elbow injury.
Forster is unlikely to play again this season, but assistant manager Willie Donachie, taking the pre-match press conference in Royle's absence, says Lee could only be a week away from a return, although he won't be rushed back: "First of all they said three weeks but he's looking pretty good.
"However, a hamstring can be difficult; you think you're OK but if you try it too early it'll go again. We've got to be very careful with him."
Parkin is set to see a specialist today to assess his next move after recuperation from his broken ankle stalled. The former Swindon man is still several weeks away from being back in first team contention.
On-loan defender Jay McEveley returned to the club this week as he continues his recovery from the medial ligament injury he sustained at Cardiff in November. Donachie says the Blackburn player is likely to be back in action by mid-March.
The Town assistant boss says that no decision has been taken on whether to make the England U21 international a permanent signing come the summer: "That's for Joe to decide. There are so many things involved with signing someone from the Premier League, including the cost involved. There are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration and now we've got Scott Barron, who I think has been outstanding."
Shane Supple will continue in goal with the back four likely to see Fabian Wilnis switching to the right and Sito drop to the bench with Richard Naylor rejoining Jason De Vos in the centre.
In midfield, Owen Garvan is expected to be partnered by Ian Westlake in the middle with Matt Richards and Darren Currie on the flanks, although the former Brighton man could be called on to play a more forward role.
Donachie isn't too concerned that the Blues will be overly affected by last week's defeat at Wolves: "It's about consistency and they've been very consistent over the last couple of months. I don't see any reason why that would change. It's the same players and there's a great spirit and a great work ethic, they're a great bunch of lads.
"They know that they did really well last week and they've looked at the video of the game. Although we lost, we didn't deserve to, even the Wolves staff said that after the match.
"That's not to say that Saturday won't be a hard game. I've seen Leicester and they've changed completely since earlier in the season and they are a very hardworking team, much more aggressive and much more honest."
New Leicester chief Rob Kelly is hopeful he can call on full-back Richard Stearman, Arsenal loanee Ryan Smith, midfielder Momo Sylla and centre-half Patrick Kisnorbo after injuries: "Richard's been struggling with an ankle problem which has been ongoing for a little while.
"And although Ryan Smith was a substitute on Saturday, it was touch and go because if Momo Sylla [back] had been fit we probably wouldn't have had Ryan on the bench because he's had a thigh strain for a week or so. So we're just easing those players through and resting them when needed.
"Patrick Kisnorbo's got a bit of a sore knee too, but I think they'll be all right for the weekend."
Paddy McCarthy is suspended and Kelly has already decided on his replacement: "I always try to keep changes to a minimum and for Saturday, at Ipswich, Patrik Gerrbrand is available to come into the back four for McCarthy. That is the way I am thinking at the moment."
Kelly, manager at the Walkers Stadium until the end of the season, is also after loan additions to his squad, although the Town game could come too quickly for them to be in place.
Referee Paul Taylor from Hertfordshire has booked 80 players and sent four off this season in 28 matches. His last Town game was the 2-0 defeat to West Ham at Upton Park on New Year's Day 2005.
Squad: Supple, Price, Sito, Barron, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Magilton, Richards, Westlake, Garvan, Skard, Currie, Fuller, Haynes, McDonald, Proudlock, Clarke.
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