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Trio Missing for Boxing Day Visit to Palace
Trio Missing for Boxing Day Visit to Palace
Thursday, 24th Dec 2009 09:38

Town will be without skipper Jon Walters, midfielder Grant Leadbitter and striker Stern John when they travel to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day (KO 1pm). Walters and Leadbitter serve one-match bans after reaching five yellow cards, while John is ineligible to play against his parent club.

The Blues will be in action for the first time in a fortnight but manager Roy Keane says the decision to postpone last week’s game at Scunthorpe was correct: “It was disappointing that the game was called off last weekend, but it was definitely the right decision and we want to have some good results for ourselves and our supporters.

“The disappointment for us is that Stern can’t play and that Jon Walters and Grant Leadbitter are suspended, so we’re going to use the squad. Two games in three days is a test but I’m OK with numbers, we’ve got decent numbers.

“We’ve not got back-to-back victories so far this season. Let’s focus just on the Palace game and the QPR game will take care of itself.

“We have a tough game against Palace. They turned us over quite comfortably down here when we were quite poor. We know we have to do a lot better than that and we’ll get to the QPR game when we come to it.”

With two games so close together over the holiday period Keane will make changes to his side. Stern John is likely to start the QPR game, the final match of his loan spell, as he is unavailable against Palace.

Jon Walters also being absent means that either Tamás Priskin or Pablo Couñago is likely to come into the attack at Selhurst Park alongside Jon Stead. Neither has particularly impressed this season, but the Spaniard may get the nod given his greater experience. Connor Wickham is likely to be on the bench.

In midfield, David Norris is set to return to the squad but is unlikely to start having been out of action due to a knee ligament injury since August. The former Plymouth man should see some action from the bench at some stage over the Christmas period.

Alan Quinn could come into the centre of midfield for Grant Leadbitter alongside Jack Colback, with Owen Garvan on the left and Jaime Peters on the right. Carlos Edwards is likely to come into the reckoning for the QPR game. Lee Martin is fit again after his heel problem.

At the back, Keane is almost certain to stick with the back four which has done so well in recent weeks – David Wright, Damien Delaney, Gareth McAuley and Liam Rosenior – with Arran Lee-Barrett in goal. Alex Bruce is fit again after his groin injury and is likely to be on the bench.

In addition to looking for their first back-to-back wins of the season, the Blues will be seeking to extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches.

Town’s training schedule hasn’t been hit badly by the weather with groundsman Alan Ferguson making sure the Playford Road pitches are in playable condition. The Portman Road surface is also likely to be fine in time for Monday’s game against QPR.

The squad will train today and again in the afternoon on Christmas Day before travelling to London in the evening.

Palace will be without full-back Danny Butterfield, who has a hamstring injury but manager Neil Warnock says it isn’t a major blow: "We're looking at the FA Cup game at the start of January to get Danny back in the squad.

"I'm not too worried as I think Nathaniel Clyne has done very well and I'm sure he will make it very hard for Danny to get his place back in the team when he does return."

Central defender Paddy McCarthy is also out with a shoulder injury. Palace currently sit 12th in the Championship with 30 points, nine more than the Blues, with a home record of won four, drawn four and lost three.

Town have the edge over the years, winning 29 games between the sides (27 in the league), drawing 23 (23) and losing 23 (23).

Last season, the Blues won 4-1 at Selhurst Park with the goals coming from Owen Garvan, David Norris, Kevin Lisbie and Clint Hill (OG). Ex-Blue Alan Lee netted for the home side.

Earlier this season, the Eagles won 3-1 at Portman Road, former Town man Darren Ambrose scoring twice along with Neil Danns. Alex Bruce netted for the Blues.

Ambrose and Lee remain members of Neil Warnock’s squad and are the only Eagles to have previously played for the Blues. Stern John is on loan at Town from Palace, while Jon Stead and Alan Quinn both played for Palace boss Neil Warnock at Sheffield United.

As it's Boxing Day train services are limited, although Southern Railways are operating in south London. Details can be found here

Saturday’s referee is Paul Taylor from Hertfordshire, who has shown 63 yellow and seven red cards in 16 games so far this season. Taylor’s most recent Town game was the 1-1 home draw with Preston earlier in the season in which he booked Tommy Smith and Jon Walters and Lilywhites midfielder Ross Wallace, in addition to showing a straight red card to Preston defender Callum Davidson for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity when he handled a goalbound shot.

Squad from: Lee-Barrett, McLoughlin, Rosenior, D Wright, Delaney, McAuley, Bruce, Smith, Colback, Quinn, Garvan, Norris, Trotter, Healy, Peters, Edwards, Martin, Stead, Couñago, Priskin, Wickham.

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

Suffolk_n_Good added 10:06 - Dec 24
Such a shame that Walters & Leadbitter have ended up missing the same game, even so I believe we should go there feeling we can get something out of the game, a point away to Palace, followed by 3 at home to QPR, would be a decent return.
Just as a side issue, this referee has issued 63 yellow cards & 7 reds in 16 games! talk about card happy, that means he issues a card of some discription every 20 mins!..... keep them tackles clean lads!

brockleyblueboy added 10:30 - Dec 24
It is going to be a good test for the squad. Walters and Leadbitter will be sorely missed, but it will be a great confidence boost for the team and the fans, if we can get a result without. It will show the strength in depth. 6 points would be the best Christmas present.

I wish you all a very merry christmas and here's to great 2010.


PSGBlue added 11:37 - Dec 24
Good news about hopefully extending Colbacks loan spell, could see an important partnership with Leadbitter developing there. Garvan looks good on the left, just the right side of midfield still looks up for grabs. Despite missing Walters and Leadbitter, feel we can at least get a draw with our solid looking defence. Apart from the general lack of firepower, it does look like our team is slowly coming together. This becoming obvious as the team starts to pick itself.

Back_The_Boss added 11:47 - Dec 24
Leadbitter will be a big miss for us in midfield, very creative and tough in the tackles, i'm confident we can get a good result though.


raycrawfordswig added 12:01 - Dec 24

bleedblue added 12:58 - Dec 24
Leadbitter is so commited to the cause, most players if suspended and not playing til next week would be having an early christmas, yet he was down the gym this morning busting out a load of lengths in the pool, commited to his game, the club, respect brother!

Dowson added 13:17 - Dec 24
yeppppp thats a bit of a blow i mean massive

dirtydingusmagee added 14:23 - Dec 24
thats not good, but heyyyyy HAPPY CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR EVERYONE !,and we are not bottom at Christmas [i thought we would be ,pleased to say i was wrong ] COYB

NW10_Tractor added 14:39 - Dec 24
Any one on here planning on going? I plan to!

MarkITFC added 15:19 - Dec 24
Its a good time to play them tbh , there in finacal problems and all players unsetteld. Its a shame we anit got them 2 probsley our two best players ?

but i think we will still get a win ... 2-1 town , Garvan , Mc Aurley

4 game winning strek . ???

BlueBoots added 16:04 - Dec 24
With 2 suspensions and the loan agreement for Stern John (and 2 games in 2 days) might be a good opportunity to dip into the depth of the squad, so we can have a fresh team for a good go at Blackpool in the cup...

I'd go with:

vs. Palace

Rosenior - McAuley - Delaney - D. Wright
-------Edwards - Garvan - Quinn-----------
---------------Stead - Priskin----------------

vs. QPR

Rosenior - McAuley - Delaney - D. Wright
-------Walters - Colback - Peters-----------
---------------Counago - John---------------

Would try to stick with the settled back 4, but obviously rest any defenders having tough games / picking up knocks etc. in the Palace game...

mjw_1983 added 16:58 - Dec 24
how many of you have missed the fact tht norris is back!!

arc added 21:32 - Dec 24
With Leadbitter out, I would play Garvan in the middle to get the passing going.

Keaneish added 23:19 - Dec 24
I reckon it's going to be:

Edwards Quinn Colback Garvan

Norris to get a run for Quinn later on.

Who the hell is partnering Stead though? Got to be Counago hasn't it? Slim pickings at the mo.

dubblue added 10:49 - Dec 26
Great to see Norris back! Would be happy with 4 points, 1-1 vs Palace. 2 nil against QPR!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Mungo added 11:59 - Dec 26
Going to be a tricky one, but the squad would probably have been rotated anyway with so many games in a few days. Could be worth experimenting with putting Peters up front (off Stead) to add a bit of pace and run at defenders?

Not expecting to see too much of Norris over the next few games but might get a sub appearance at some point if things are going well.

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