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Skipper Jim Set for Start
Skipper Jim Set for Start
Monday, 21st Feb 2005 16:03

Skipper Jim Magilton will return to the starting line-up as the Blues aim to continue this season's excellent home record against Watford. Magilton was rested at Preston on Friday but manager Joe Royle has confirmed that the Northern Irishman will be back against the Hornets.

Royle said: "Jim will definitely play but we are only looking at the Watford game for the time being.

"We want to win after being 2-0 up at Vicarage Road earlier in the season. We eventually had to settle for a point after we let them back into it and were pegged back to 2-2."

Magilton looks likely to come into central midfield with Kevin Horlock dropping to the bench. The two former Northern Irish internationals have been swapped in and out of the first 11 in recent weeks.

The Blues are otherwise likely to be unchanged, with James Scowcroft making his 250th appearance in a Town shirt in his second home debut. Contrary to some sources, Scowcroft's booking at Preston was his fourth of the season and not his fifth.

The loan striker's name is still to appear on the FA's suspension list which includes a number of other players who reached five bookings over the weekend.

Midfielder Ian Westlake has recovered from a gash to his achilles sustained at Deepdale, while central defender Jason De Vos was suffering with a tight calf after Friday's game but will be OK to play against the Hornets.

Shefki Kuqi remains on the sidelines with the deep gash to his leg which will keep him out for around a month, while Drissa Diallo is still not ready for a first team recall after his hamstring injury. However, the Guinean international played 45 minutes for the reserves last week and has been in full training.

Watford manager Ray Lewington is hoping for a better performance from his players than against Sunderland recently when his side lost 4-2, former Blue Marcus Stewart netting a hat-trick: "I think the lesson is if we play like we did at Sunderland we could easily have the same thing on Tuesday night, so we have got to make sure that doesn't happen.

"But Ipswich are completely different to Sunderland. They are probably the best footballing side in the division and will always score goals, no doubt about that, but we have to be heartened by the fact that they do sometimes give you a chance.

"We know it is extremely difficult but sometimes things like last Saturday can work for you."

Watford have extended Tottenham midfielder Johnnie Jackson's loan spell for a third month, while keeper Paul Jones will end his loan from Wolves after the Town game.

First choice Hornets' stopper Richard Lee is on the verge of a return after a fractured cheekbone and could well start for the first time since mid-December.

Bad news for Lewington is that star striker Heidar Helguson may not be available after picking up a knee injury in the defeat at Sunderland. Chris Eagles, a loanee from Manchester United, is likely to take over alongside Danny Webber.

The Hornets have a lengthy injury list with Paul Devlin set to see a specialist regarding a toe problem and Brynar Gunnarsson, Sean Dyche, Marcus Gayle, Jason Norville and Omari Coleman all on their way back after problems but not yet ready for first team involvement.

The Town pitch is under cover with Antarctic conditions expected in Suffolk over the next 48 hours. Groundsman Alan Ferguson and his staff are working round the clock not just to clear the pitch but the concourses and the approaches to the ground.

Tuesday's referee is André Marriner who impressed many fans with his performance on the opening day of the season when the Blues defeated Gillingham 2-1. The West Midlands official has progressed to refereeing in the Premiership this season and has shown 56 yellow and six red cards in 25 games.

Town squad: Bent, Bowditch, Currie, Davis, De Vos, Horlock, Karbassiyoon, Magilton, Miller, Naylor, Price, Richards, Scowcroft, Unsworth, Westlake, Wilnis.

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