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Three Miss Burnley
Three Miss Burnley
Thursday, 14th Oct 2004 16:38

Town look set to be without three senior players when they face Burnley at Portman Road on Saturday. Kelvin Davis is still suffering with his back problem, Darren Bent has been sent to have a scan on the hamstring injury picked up while on England U21 duty, while Fabian Wilnis is suspended.

Boss Joe Royle says that he is all but resigned to being without the injured duo: "Kelvin is still not 100% and is unlikely to make it and it's the same with Darren.

"He will have a scan on his damaged hamstring but at best it's a strain, at worse a tear and that could mean him being out for three or four weeks."

Lewis Price will continue in place of Davis and will make his first home league start. Bent's absence is likely to see Ian Westlake return to the line-up with the Blues moving back to a 4-4-2 formation.

Up front, England U19 international Dean Bowditch, a scorer in Town's last match at Coventry, will partner Shefki Kuqi, who netted twice for Finland against Armenia on Saturday.

Royle is still keen to add to his squad through loanees but this seems unlikely prior to Saturday's game, with his targets remaining a mystery.

Dutch full-back Wilnis completes his three-match ban for his red card against Plymouth.

With two senior players out injured and one suspended, the substitutes bench will comprise of Spanish striker Pablo Couñago and four youngsters.

Town have the division's best goalscoring record but visitors Burnley have the best defence, four of their away trips having ended 0-0, with the Clarets scoring only once and conceding only once on their travels.

Manager Steve Cotterill says Joe Royle is an example to younger bosses like himself: "They're a good side and Joe has done a terrific job wherever he has been and he's someone you would like to aspire to, managing in a 1,000 games.

"That's a remarkable feat, especially in manager's terms these days. I saw him the other week at Coventry and he was very complimentary about us and that was very nice."

Cotterill refutes suggestions that his side simply goes out to frustrate their opposition away from home: "We work hard at it every week and we don't take too much notice of it.

"We haven't gone anywhere for a 0-0, but we've had good defensive performances wherever we've been."

Cotterill, who is denying newspaper reports linking him with the vacant manager's job at Leicester City, has few injury problems but defender Lee Roche is still not quite ready for a first team return after a hamstring problem which has kept him out for a month.

Former Blue John McGreal returns to Portman Road for the first time since his free transfer exit in the summer. The ex-Tranmere man says he saw the full range of football experiences when with Town: "Saturday will be a big day for me because I had happy times at Ipswich. The best of my career so far, I would say.

"We had promotion, played UEFA Cup football and Premiership football and, unfortunately got relegated - I had the lot there.

"They were happy days and it was a wrench to leave because I was settled down there with my family and young children.

"But after I spoke to Steve Cotterill during the summer and then to a few of the lads at Burnley, who I already knew from my Tranmere days, it seemed the right club.

"It also gave me the chance to move back up north after five years away, so a combination of things made this the right move and it's worked out brilliantly so far. It's a new challenge and I'm loving it."

Burnley tend to play with five men across with midfield with only Ian Moore up front. In midfield Tony Grant, who played under Joe Royle at Everton and Manchester City, is joined by amongst others England U21 international Richard Chaplow and top scorer Robbie Blake.

Saturday's referee is Brian Curson from Leicester. So far this season he has shown 21 yellow cards and one red in nine games. He last refereed Town on the opening day of last season in the 1-1 draw with Reading when he awarded the Blues a controversial last minute penalty.

Squad: Bowditch, Collins, Couñago, De Vos, Diallo, Horlock, Kuqi, Magilton, Miller, Mitchell, Murray, Naylor, Price, Richards, Supple, Westlake.

Photo: Action Images

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