Billy set to start against Hatters

IPSWICH will adopt a 'needs must' policy and name Billy Clarke in their starting line-up against Luton on Sunday.Their desire to keep the exciting Irish teenager under wraps has been overtaken by circumstances in the shape of a hamstring injury that has sidelined on-loan Crystal Palace striker Jon Macken.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH will adopt a 'needs must' policy and name Billy Clarke in their starting line-up against Luton on Sunday.

Their desire to keep the exciting Irish teenager under wraps has been overtaken by circumstances in the shape of a hamstring injury that has sidelined on-loan Crystal Palace striker Jon Macken.

It will be 18-year-old Clarke's fourth senior start as Town look to avoid a third successive home defeat after West Brom and Preston plundered eight goals and all six points at Portman Road earlier this month.

Manager Jim Magilton's desire to field a settled side will have to wait, as goalkeeper Lewis Price is ruled out by injury, while West Ham loanee Mark Noble's one-game ban for collecting five yellow cards necessitates a third change to the side that won 3-1 at Southend last week.

First team coach Bryan Klug said: “Jon's injury is not as serious as we first thought, but he is definitely out against Luton and again at Plymouth next Tuesday.

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“It is no secret that we have been trying to be very careful with Billy when it comes to playing in the Cham-

pionship, which is a very physical league.

“He got on early at Southend, when he was very good in his movement. He also scored one goal and had a big part in another.

“At some stage or another Billy is going to have to start games, although he tends to get a bit more space away from home.”

Shane Supple will deputise for Price, who suffered a fractured rib at Roots Hall. It will be the 19-year-old Dubliner's first start since he was axed in August after Town lost their first three games of the season.

On-trial former Czech Republic Under-21 goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny, who was with Fulham last season, is likely to sign a short-term contract so he can take his place on the bench.

Simon Walton, on loan from Charlton, is perhaps the most likely replacement for the suspended Noble, although Magilton will wait until Sunday lunchtime - kick-off is at 1.15pm - before confirming his selection.

Klug, meanwhile, is keen that match-day performances reflect the improvement he is witnessing in daily training sessions, which has only rarely been the case this term.

He added: “The players are facing up to what they have to do in order to reach a higher standard, but in terms of results and how we have played in games we have been inconsistent.

“We were good in the first half against Preston but it didn't last and although we again played some good football at Southend, we tailed off a little bit when they scored.

“What we must try to do is to make our good spells last longer and we have also been working hard to make ourselves more difficult to break down.”

Opponents Luton were unbeaten in six league and cup games before crashing to a 4-0 Carling Cup defeat at Everton in midweek.

Defenders Markus Heikkinen and Russell Perrett were the main victims of a flu bug that swept through Kenilworth Road earlier this week, but former Bradford left-sided star Lewis Emanuel is back in contention after missing three games with a hamstring injury.

Ex-Town striker Sam Parkin, who has netted once in eight appearances since his £340,000 move in August, has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.

Neither he nor Aussie defender Chris Coyne, now back in training after a seven-game absence, is likely to feature on Sunday.

SQUADS

Ipswich: Supple, Wilnis, De Vos, Bruce, Harding, Peters, Walton, Legwinski, Richards, Lee, Clarke, Sito, Currie, Roberts, Bowditch, Haynes and Drobny.

Luton: Beresford, Foley, Keane, Heikkinen, Barnett, Davis, Edwards, Robinson, Bell, Morgan, Vine, Feeney, Boyd, Langley, Emanuel, Brkovic, O'Leary and Brill.

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).