Hyam and Martin to Miss Millwall
Friday, 20th Apr 2012 14:11
Midfielders Luke Hyam and Lee Martin are both expected to miss Saturday’s home game against Millwall having picked up niggles in training. Better news for Blues boss Paul Jewell, who is considering including 16-year-old Byron Lawrence as a sub, is that Richard Wright doesn’t require an operation on his knee problem, while Jimmy Bullard was back in training this morning.
Jewell says he had planned to start Hyam against the Lions: “Luke Hyam would have played tomorrow but unfortunately he pulled his thigh in training yesterday.
“We might give one or two lads on the fringes a run-out. We wanted Byron Lawrence to train with us yesterday and today but we couldn’t get him off school.
“He might well be in the 16 tomorrow, I’ll have to sleep on that. He might well be on the bench tomorrow.”
If he plays on Saturday aged just 16 years and 40 days, Lawrence will become Town’s second-youngest first team player, younger than Jason Dozzell was when he made his first team debut – and scored – as a sub against Coventry in February 1984 at 16 years and 57 days.
Connor Wickham became Town’s youngest-ever player when he came on as a sub in the 3-1 home defeat to Doncaster in April 2009 aged 16 years and 11 days.
Aside from Lawrence and the slightly older Hyam, Josh Carson and Jack Ainsley, Jewell says there aren’t too many younger players pushing for inclusion at present: “I don’t want to be disrespectful but we haven’t got that many bursting through into the first team saying ‘Play me!’.”
The Town boss says one of his regular midfielders is set to join Hyam on the sidelines: “Lee Martin’s got a little groin problem and Luke pulled his thigh in training, so those two will probably be missing.
“Richard Wright trained this morning, we thought he was going to need an operation but he hasn’t so far.”
Jimmy Bullard is also back in action after his sinus problem but is unlikely to be involved against the club where he played as a schoolboy: “Jimmy trained this morning for the first time in a while and he was in yesterday with the fitness coach, but he still looks like Morticia.”
Jewell will probably largely stick with the side which impressed during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Birmingham.
Arran Lee Barrett will continue in goal with Carlos Edwards - whose daughter will be Saturday's mascot - and Aaron Cresswell the full-backs, although Ainsley could be included amongst the subs and replace the Blues skipper at some stage.
Tommy Smith and Damien Delaney will continue at the heart of the defence with Grant Leadbitter and Andy Drury expected to keep their places in the centre of the midfield.
Jewell could bring in Josh Carson on one of the flanks, perhaps giving Daryl Murphy a rest, with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas probably coming back into the side on the right after impressing from the bench and scoring on Tuesday.
The Town boss may switch back to the Blues’ usual formation from Tuesday's orthodox 4-4-2 with Ryan Stevenson perhaps taking Martin’s usual role behind the lone striker. Michael Chopra might get the nod ahead of Jason Scotland with the veteran Trinidadian haven’t played a lot of games recently.
Richard Wright could come back on to the bench alongside Lawrence for what might be his last inclusion in a squad at Portman Road with his deal up in the summer. However, Town didn't name a sub keeper on Tuesday with Jewell saying this was to give himself more options from the bench with the Blues' season over from a competitive perspective.
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett, whose side are five points and two places behind the Blues in 17th in the Championship on 53 points, says he’s considering recalling 19-goal striker Darius Henderson after a calf injury: "Darius is close to returning. Tuesday night's game at Coventry City was too soon for him, but if it is possible for him to be fit this weekend it will be a welcome addition for us."
Former Blue Liam Trotter came off the bench at the Ricoh Arena having been out of action with a thigh problem recently and may again be amongst the subs.
Midfielders Therry Racon (ankle) and Tamika Mkandawire (knee) and keeper Steve Mildenhall (ankle) are long-term absentees.
Jackett, like Jewell, is keen to end the season on a positive note: "We want to finish as high in the league as we can and to do so we need to win these two games.
"We are pleased to be safe sooner rather than later but it is important that we maintain our form and finish strongly and carry that on to next season.”
Ipswich-born Trotter moved to the Den from Portman Road during the summer of 2010 after a loan spell, while full-back or midfielder Scott Barron has been with Millwall since being released by the Blues in 2007.
Lions midfielder James Henry was the subject of rebuffed Town offers last summer, while midfielder Josh Wright was linked earlier in the week.
New Town coach Mark Kennedy started his playing career with Millwall, making 46 starts and eight sub appearances and scoring 12 goals between 1992 and 1995.
Jaime Peters had trials at the Den and then-boss Dennis Wise was keen to sign him before the Canadian joined the Blues in 2005. Jimmy Bullard was on Millwall’s books as a schoolboy.
The sides are fairly evenly matched historically, Millwall having won 17 games (16 in the league) and Town 16 (13), while 12 (12) have ended in draws.
In October, at the Den, Jimmy Bullard netted a superb first goal of the season but Town fell to a deserved 4-1 defeat.
The home side were on top from the off, going two in front via Jay Simpson and Darius Henderson early on. Bullard pulled a goal back for the Blues after the break but Simpson’s second and the Lions' fourth from Liam Feeney soon after sealed a comfortable victory.
Last season the teams met at Portman Road in October 2010 when Jason Scotland’s fifth goal in six home league games and a Grant Leadbitter penalty saw Roy Keane’s Blues to a 2-0 victory.
Scotland struck what was only Town’s second first half league goal of the season, then Leadbitter sealed it after the break from the spot, Danny Shittu having fouled Tamás Priskin.
Saturday’s referee is Colin Webster from Tyne and Wear, who has shown 81 yellow and seven red cards in 35 games so far this season. Webster’s most recent Town match was the 2-0 defeat at Blackpool in September, in which he booked only Blues loanee Danny Collins.
Squad from: Lee-Barrett, Wright, Edwards, Cresswell, Ainsley, Smith, Delaney, Sonko, Leadbitter, Drury, Bowyer, Stevenson, Lawrence, Murphy, Emmanuel-Thomas, Carson, Chopra, Scotland, Ellington.
Photo: Action Images
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