Defensive crisis looms for Town

IPSWICH could be without two key defenders for Saturday's crucial home clash with Crewe.David Unsworth, forced off in last week's 1-1 draw at Leeds, has been joined on the casualty list by fellow full-back Fabian Wilnis.

IPSWICH could be without two key defenders for Saturday's crucial home clash with Crewe.

David Unsworth, forced off in last week's 1-1 draw at Leeds, has been joined on the casualty list by fellow full-back Fabian Wilnis.

Town remain hopeful that both players will be fit, but boss Joe Royle said today: “They both have points to prove.

“Tomorrow will be a big day for them both. We will want to see them back in training and hopefully neither will miss the Crewe game.


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“But while we might be confident that both players will make it we cannot say for certain until they actually go out tomorrow and prove they are fit enough.”

Unsworth has strained an ankle ligament and has been nursed along all week, while Wilnis went over on an ankle in training yesterday.

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Royle added: “Fabian twisted it towards the end of training and had to go off, although he was feeling a bit better by the time he returned home.

“But he was in some discomfort and it all depends on how it reacts over the next couple of days.

“We have options even if both missed out and Drissa Diallo came through 90 minutes in last night's reserve game at Norwich.”

Royle confirmed that the back four would remain unchanged if both Unsworth and Wilnis recover in time - but the rest of the starting line-up is open to speculation.

“I've a few things to consider,” said Royle.

“Generally our home form has been good this season and I've a couple of things in mind.”

One will be whether to go with the 4-3-3 formation that finished the home draw with Sunderland and was given a further vote of confidence at Elland Road.

Meanwhile, despite what is riding on Saturday's game for his own club, Royle took time out to spare a thought for fellow boss Dario Gradi and his plight at the other end of the table.

He said: “Of course I have sympathy for Dario and Crewe, but he knows you are never relegated on one game, but over the 46 you play in a season.

“Rotherham were relegated because we beat them at Portman Road a few weeks back, but again it was on the strength of their results since August.

“Dario is another manager, like myself, who belongs to the 1,000 Club and his record with Crewe is fantastic. Invariably, if they have gone down, they have come back up again.”

While Ipswich cling to the hope that they can still pip Wigan for automatic promotion, Crewe are only out of the Championship's bottom three on goal difference after a run of 19 games without a win.

But Royle is far from dismissive of Gradi's team, adding: “When a team hasn't won in a long time, in my view that makes them dangerous.”

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