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Town Wait on Garvan Ahead of Stoke Clash
Town Wait on Garvan Ahead of Stoke Clash
Friday, 11th Jan 2008 12:35

Town boss Jim Magilton continues to wait on midfielder Owen Garvan ahead of Saturday's home game with Stoke City. The Irishman has been suffering with flu for the last few days and is considered a doubt.

Aside from Garvan and midfielder Liam Trotter, who begins his three-match suspension this weekend, Magilton has almost his entire squad from which to pick his side.

Jason De Vos is over his rib problem and will return to the centre of the defence alongside Alex Bruce, with Fabian Wilnis or Richard Naylor taking a spot on the bench. Sito and David Wright will continue in the full-back positions with Neil Alexander in goal.

Jon Walters is likely to return to the midfield after missing the Portsmouth game through illness, probably on the left with Danny Haynes having done enough against Pompey to retain his right-sided role.

Garvan will keep his place in the centre of midfield if considered well enough, with Tommy Miller his likely replacement if not. Gavin Williams is set to continue in the other central midfield position as he starts to look more like the player fans remember from before his injury. Sylvain Legwinski will be in the squad having recovered from a bout of flu which kept him out of the Portsmouth match.

Up front, Pablo Couñago is expected to be partnered by Alan Lee, who was rested for the last two games due to an achilles problem. Jordan Rhodes, back in the squad after missing the Pompey game as he was cup-tied, and Billy Clarke may play some role from the bench.

Magilton says the Potters are a team not to be taken lightly: “They are a very good side and will not be bullied. They have a great work ethic and a method of playing that suits their players.

“And in striker Ricardo Fuller they have a real goal threat who we will have to watch. When he was on loan at Ipswich I thought he was a nice lad who perhaps should have played more at a higher level.

“It is another home game for us and we must get last Saturday's FA Cup defeat out of our system.”

Stoke have signed former Newcastle United full-back Andy Griffin from Derby for £300,000 but the 28-year-old is likely to go straight into manager Tony Pulis's squad for Saturday's game due to a calf injury.

Striker Mama Sidibe is unavailable has he joined up with the Mali squad ahead of the African Nations Cup with Richard Cresswell, Vincent Pericard and Jon Parkin vying for his place alongside former Town loanee Fuller.

Midfielder Rory Delap is a doubt due to a thigh injury, while Salif Diao and Dominic Matteo have recently missed out due to knee and foot injuries respectively.

Assistant manager David Kemp wants a repeat of last year's corresponding fixture: “We won at Portman Road last season and hopefully we can repeat that this time. Ipswich are impressive at home and playing their best football there.

“They've always been a difficult team to play on their own ground and always been a good footballing team.

“They've got a lot of home grown players. They know the Ipswich way and obviously feel comfortable playing at Portman Road.”

Town will be looking to extend their home league unbeaten run to 18 matches, while fourth-placed Stoke's league away record this season reads won five, drawn six, lost two. The Potters are unbeaten for 11 games.

Stoke's record at Portman Road is good of late, having won on their previous two visits. Last season, a Liam Lawrence goal took the Potters to a 1-0 victory. The game at the Britannia Stadium ended in a 0-0 draw.

Overall, Town's record against Stoke reads: won 28 (26 in the league), drawn 19 (17) and lost 27 (23).

Saturday's game will be the main match on ITV's The Championship on Sunday morning, while the clash is also the featured commentary game on Five Live Sports Extra. The digital radio channel is available online to UK listeners as well as via DAB radio, Freeview, cable and Sky.

TWTD issue 90 will not be on sale at the ground but is still available here by post either via a six-issue subscription or by purchasing a single copy.

Saturday's referee is Keith Stroud from Hampshire, who has shown 73 yellow cards and four reds in 20 games so far this season. The Premier League official's last Town match was the 3-1 home victory over Colchester in October in which he booked Neil Alexander for an offence which led to a penalty which the keeper saved, and Dan Harding.

Probable squad: Alexander, Supple, Sito, Wright, Harding, De Vos, Bruce, Wilnis, Naylor, Garvan, Williams, Miller, Legwinski, Walters, Haynes, Lee, Couñago, Clarke, Rhodes.

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