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Town Still Without Star Names for Cardiff Clash
Town Still Without Star Names for Cardiff Clash
Tuesday, 8th Apr 2008 11:58

Town will again be without David Norris, Shefki Kuqi, Jon Walters, Richard Naylor and Pablo Couñago when FA Cup finalists Cardiff City are at Portman Road on Wednesday evening. Boss Jim Magilton has revealed that his players took it upon themselves to hold an impromptu meeting after Saturday's defeat at Colchester.

Norris (heel), Walters (knee surgery) and Kuqi (hamstring) are all set to undergo scans at the end of the week but Magilton says they are progressing well. Couñago serves the final game of his three-match ban for his red card against Scunthorpe, while Naylor is out until pre-season having had surgery on a neck injury last week.

The Town manager says his team tried to sort out why things went so badly wrong at Colchester on Saturday: "The players have had a heart to heart. They had a chat because they knew what happened at Colchester wasn't acceptable and good from them. There is only so much the manager and coaching staff to do.

"I'm not privy to what was said, they are grown men and one they cross the white line it is down to them.

"We put the structure in place for them and ask them to go and play. If they don't perform we have the right to ask those questions and if they don't have the answers then woe betide.”

Magilton will have to decide what changes to make ahead of the Bluebirds' visit, although his options in attack, Town's weakest area against the U's, are limited with Couñago suspended, Kuqi injured and Billy Clarke on loan at Falkirk.

Former Cardiff man Alan Lee and Danny Haynes look almost certain starters unless the Town manager decides to go with the 4-4-1-1 formation he utilised in the second half against QPR with Gavin Williams or Gary Roberts in the role behind the lone striker, who would almost certainly be Lee.

Dean Bowditch could possibly be in line for a surprise recall if Magilton wants to stick with a two with Haynes perhaps moving to the right of midfield, while Jordan Rhodes looks likely to be used from the bench at some stage.

Gavin Williams put in a better performance at Colchester, but may not have done enough to warrant a third successive start. The Welshman, a Cardiff City supporter, would appear to be the man most likely to drop out if Haynes switches back to the right side of a midfield four.

Owen Garvan and Velice Sumulikoski look likely to be the central two, although Tommy Miller will be looking for a return to the starting line-up, while Alan Quinn is set to continue on the left.

At centre-half, Magilton has few options other than Jason De Vos and Alex Bruce at present, although Fabian Wilnis will be hoping for some involvement in what looks likely to be the last few weeks of his nine-year Town career.

The Blues boss will have to decide whether to continue with Sito at left-back after the Spaniard's error led to Colchester's second goal with David Wright a more likely replacement than Dan Harding. Loanees Stephen Bywater and Danny Simpson will continue in goal and at right-back respectively.

Cardiff manager David Jones is anxious that his players concentrate on the league – in which they sit 12th, six points off the play-offs - after their weekend cup success: "The FA Cup win is now behind us and our focus is back on the play-offs. We have a slim chance of making them and the match at Ipswich is an opportunity.

"We're playing a team just ahead of us and we have games in hand - we need to keep our run going.

"My job is to keep the players' feet on the ground for the match at Ipswich. I hope that won't be too difficult. They haven't let me down so far."

Jones says there are "plenty of knocks and bruises" amongst his squad after Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Barnsley, which suggests there could be a few changes.

Full-back Kevin McNaughton was subbed at Wembley and is expected to be replaced by Darcy Blake, while Paul Parry, a Town target in January, is likely to be sidelined with the hamstring injury he picked up in last week's league game with West Brom.

Town have had the better of the Bluebirds over the years, running out winners 14 times (12 in the league), drawing nine (nine) and losing nine (eight). Earlier in the season, a Paul Parry goal saw the Welshmen to a 1-0 win at Ninian Park.

Last year, the Blues defeated Dave Jones's men 3-1 at Portman Road with Jon Walters scoring twice and Franny Jeffers once. Parry was again on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Issue 91 of TWTD, which features an interview with club chief executive Derek Bowden, will be in sale prior to the game from our sellers around Portman Road (by Sir Alf, next to the Portman Road entrance to the Greene King Stand, by Planet Blue) ahead of kick-off.

If you can't make the game, you can purchase a single copy or six-issue subscription here and have copies delivered to your door.

Also in this issue, Gavin Barber uncovers more of Richard Scudamore's plans for the Premier League, the new signings are assessed, there's a feature on following lower league German football and specifically Union Berlin, advice to a newborn Town fan, a piece on women and football and much more.

We're already starting to put together issue 92 and as ever are after contributions. As the issue coincides with the 30th anniversary of the 1978 FA Cup final, we're after plenty of articles on one of the greatest days in the club's history.

In the current issue of the fanzine, David Huxley writes about his cup final day having travelled over from Holland and we're after more of that sort of thing. Plus any tales from other matches along the way, be they relating to clearing snow at Bristol Rovers, having bricks thrown at you at Millwall or anything else.

If you're too young to remember 1978, feel free to write about anything else as we still want plenty of the regular stuff in addition to the FA Cup material. Send any articles to philip.ham@twtd.co.uk.

Wednesday's referee is Russell Booth from Nottinghamshire, who has shown 18 yellow and no red cards in eight games so far this season. Booth has not previously refereed the Blues.

Likely squad: Bywater, Colgan, Simpson, Wright, Sito, Harding, De Vos, Bruce, Wilnis, Garvan, Sumulikoski, Miller, Trotter, Quinn, Williams, Roberts, Lee, Haynes, Bowditch, Rhodes.

Photo: Action Images

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