Al be ready to face Bluebirds

ALAN Mahon is off his sickbed and targeting a dream Ipswich Town comeback at former club Cardiff City.The midfield flier declared today: "I'm feeling fine again after the worst bug I've ever had in my whole life.

By Dave Allard

ALAN Mahon is off his sickbed and targeting a dream Ipswich Town comeback at former club Cardiff City.

The midfield flier declared today: "I'm feeling fine again after the worst bug I've ever had in my whole life."

The on-loan Republic of Ireland international from Blackburn is hoping to get the all-clear from a doctor to play in Wednesday night's reserve home clash with Chelsea at Portman Road.

A successful night could put him in line for a return to the senior squad in next Saturday's Nationwide League First Division promotion clash at Ninian Park.

From last January to April, Mahon had a successful loan spell with Lennie Lawrence's Bluebirds before being recalled by Blackburn.

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"I scored a couple of goals and set up several. It was disappointing not to be with them at the end of the season when they won promotion to the First Division via the play-offs," said Mahon.

The left-sided midfield speed merchant, who sustained a hamstring injury in the home win over Stoke six games ago, had hoped to be in the frame for a return to action on Saturday against Sheffield United at Portman Road, a game that Joe Royle's Blues won 3-0.

But the bad virus caused him to miss last Wednesday's home reserve game with Portsmouth and ruled Mahon out of contention for action against the Blades.

"I'd been flying again in training before the bug struck," said Mahon. "You never know, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise as it gave me an extra week to rest the hamstring.

"The Sheffield United game was a big target for a comeback and now I'm desperate to be available for the Cardiff trip. The lads did great on Saturday and I'm so keen to be considered match-fit again and helping them in whatever way I can."

Town boss Royle said: "We've missed Alan as he gives us flair. It's great to see him buzzing around the place again and it will be lovely to have him available for action once more."

Royle added: "Alan had a great time at Cardiff. I had a chat with their manager Lennie Lawrence before I signed him here on loan. Alan did a great job for Cardiff last season."

Royle hopes eventually to sign Mahon on a permanent deal and the same goes for other loan

players Chris Bart-Williams and Shefki Kuqi.

He said: "All of a sudden the squad is becoming stronger with players coming back into

contention. That can only be good for us."

Pablo Counago, the Blues' nine-goal top marksman continues to make progress after the

hamstring injury sustained in the 2-2 draw at Derby just over a fortnight ago.

"Pablo is stepping up his running nicely," said Royle.

Meanwhile, Georges Santos is set to serve a one-match ban – ruling him out of the trip to Millwall on December 13 – after collecting his fifth caution of the season against Sheffield United.

n Norwich seized second spot in the table after their gutsy goalless draw at Preston, which delighted boss Nigel Worthington.

He said: "We showed plenty of determination and that is what any team needs to do."

West Brom missed the chance to extend their lead at the top when wasted chances cost them as visiting Reading earned a point in a 0-0 draw.

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