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Town Waiting on Duo
Town Waiting on Duo
Thursday, 8th Apr 2004 14:44

Town are waiting on Jim Magilton and Ian Westlake ahead of the Easter fixtures, but John McGreal has definitely been ruled out of the trip to Rotherham on Saturday. Magilton is suffering from a sciatic nerve problem while Westlake hurt his calf during the West Brom game.

Skipper Magilton trained this morning and is hopeful that he'll be OK to face the Millers, although he may only play in one of the Easter games due to his injury. Westlake has not yet trained but is still in contention for involvement on Saturday. Both are expected to train on Friday.

John McGreal will not travel to South Yorkshire but could be involved against Sunderland on Monday. The central defender twisted his ankle in training late last week.

Town have called Alun Armstrong into the squad for the Rotherham game, but are still without Richard Naylor, Chris-Bart Williams and Pablo Couñago.

Striker Couñago is still not over his hamstring injury but Town are hopeful he may be involved in next Wednesday's home reserve game with Fulham.

Richard Naylor may be fit enough for Monday's match with Sunderland after training on Thursday without a problem. If not, he is also likely to be in the reserves on Wednesday.

Chris Bart-Williams is having an injection in his back today to clear up an infection around his discs, a problem he has had for a while. The back specialist is confident that the jab will resolve the injury.

Last season the Blues lost at Millmoor at the same stage of the season, all but ending their play-off hopes, a result which manager Joe Royle will not be looking to repeat: “They were waiting for us. We'd just beaten Portsmouth here somewhat convincingly and it was a complete turnaround.

“I still don't know how the goals went in but go in they did and we lost. It's never an easy place to go, they do very, very well on limited resources. I don't expect the pitch to be as good as ours, although I'm not being cynical saying that.

“Last year they did leave their pitch and I expect that again. In their position I would probably do the same.”

Royle felt Town probably deserved something from the home game with West Brom: “We've lost on Sunday very unfortunately. If you can promise me the performance from Sunday and a little bit of luck, I'll take it. It's that simple.

“We've lost against a side who are going up and have spent fortunes, and I honestly felt we were the better side. Two bad decisions – and it's not ‘Royle ranting at the referee' – have cost us dearly, and I thought the referee did well over all.

“We just need that rub of the green coming to us. We could do with a goal coming to us that isn't a goal or something hitting the bar and coming out. I don't think we've scored too many scrappy goals this year. I can't think back to many which have just trundled in or hit three people on its way. We just need a little break now and again.

“We'll go there and do our best, we've six games left and we've a great chance. We'd have settled for where we are now when we were bottom. We're all disappointed that we haven't gone on from our pre-Christmas run as fluently as we would expect but there have been mitigating circumstances.

“Matt Elliott has been here four games now and played with four different partners. We've had 11 different centre-half partnerships all season, whereas everyone else has had a steady partnership all season. So, there have been reasons.”

For Rotherham, Chris Sedgwick is seeing a specialist today and hoping to get the all clear regarding a foot injury. Ex-Town man Chris Swailes will return to central defence after a suspension.

Saturday's referee is David Pugh from the Wirral who has shown 60 yellow cards and three red in 18 games this season. He last refereed Town in the 1-1 draw at Brighton in December 2002.

Town Easter squad: Armstrong, Bent, Bowditch, Davis, Diallo, Elliott, Kuqi, Magilton, McGreal, Miller, Mitchell, Price, Reuser, Richards, Santos, Westlake, Wilnis, Wright.


Photo: Action Images



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