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Darren Misses Out
Darren Misses Out
Thursday, 3rd Apr 2003 14:47

Darren Bent is definitely out of Saturday's play-off six-pointer at home to Nottingham Forest due to the hamstring injury picked up during Saturday's game at Gillingham. Thomas Gaardsøe is still a doubt with a groin problem.

Bent is keen to play despite his knock: “Darren wants to be considered, he's in no great pain with his hamstring, although it's tight. However, a scan has revealed that he has a very small tear and we daren't risk making it any worse. Thomas is 50/50, but we'll give him until Friday because he's improving quickly.”

Matt Holland will return from missing out at the Priestfield Stadium as he was on international duty and could deputise for Gaardsøe in the defence should the Dane fail to make it. Marcus Bent and Pablo Couñago are set to continue in attack in Darren Bent's absence.

Royle is adding no further players to his squad other than Holland, youngsters like Dean Bowditch and Ian Westlake impressing in recent weeks as subs. Tommy Miller has a broken finger but that will not keep him out of the side.

Royle sees the visit of Paul Hart's men as a big chance for his team to make up some points: “This is the only side we play from the four above us that we can plunder and gain the points for ourselves. It's a massive, massive game and it's going to be a full house from what I can gather.

“We played well at the City Ground against them without threatening goal too often and gave them two goals. In many ways that summed up a lot of our performances when we haven't won.

“They've got good forwards, David Johnson, everyone knows well here, he did exceptionally well for the Tractor Boys. Darren Huckerby, I signed for Manchester City and Harewood just gets better and better with the years after being very erratic early on. There's some terrific threats there and we'll have to defend properly.

“If you've got someone in your side like Johnson who's got more than 20 goals at Christmas that's a big threat. If he'd have been here this year I think we would have been in the top two by now.”

Forest's only injury concern is Chris Doig who has a groin problem. Veteran central defender Des Walker, sent off for Sheffield Wednesday on his last visit to Portman Road during 1994/95, could return after playing two reserve games.

Likely squad: Abidallah, M Bent, Bowditch, Couñago, Gaardsøe, Holland, Makin, Magilton, Marshall, Miller, Naylor, Pullen, Reuser, Richards, Westlake, Wilnis and Wright.

Photo: Action Images

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