Double blow for Joe

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is on the brink of drafting in further loan signings to reinforce his depleted squad.Injury-hit Town could be without EIGHT first team stars for Saturday's league clash at Watford.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle is on the brink of drafting in further loan signings to reinforce his depleted squad.

Injury-hit Town could be without EIGHT first team stars for Saturday's league clash at Watford.

Royle was waiting to assess the damage to his latest casualties, Matt Richards and Alan Mahon, who were both forced off in last night's Carling Cup defeat at Notts County.

Teenage full-back Richards was withdrawn early in the second half at Meadow Lane after a blow to his head.

And on-loan Blackburn midfielder Alan Mahon came off eight minutes before the break to avoid aggravating a groin problem that forced him to pull up.

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Royle said: "Matt wasn't concussed, but he was very groggy last night. The coach was delayed as the doctor saw him and I'm just hoping he wakes up this morning with nothing worse than a headache.

"Alan came off early as a precaution, but even at this stage I wouldn't rate his chances of playing on Saturday as any better than 50-50.

"I'll know a lot more once I have a chat with our physio, David Williams, but we have contingency plans for all positions and I'm ready to move if I have to."

Royle and chief scout Colin Suggett have drawn up a short list of possible loan signings and there could be at least one new face in the side at the weekend.

The Town boss added: "If Matt and Alan are ruled out it would be a major blow. I wouldn't want to be losing the full left side of the team."

Ipswich have five definite non-starters – Tommy Miller, Chris Makin, Drissa Diallo, John McGreal and Martijn Reuser – as they bid to make it a hat-trick of successive league wins at the weekend.

Darren Bent, who suffered a knee ligament injury in the 4-1 win over Wimbledon, is rated doubtful to face the second-from-bottom Hornets.

With another away game at Sunderland next Tuesday adding to Town's hectic schedule, manager Royle added wryly: "We're a little bit stretched."

Miller (knee), Makin (groin) and Diallo (knee) will also be absent from the trip to the Stadium of Light and beyond.

Royle went on: "Both Tommy and Chris are three to four weeks away, while Drissa is out for a minimum of two weeks.

"John McGreal is seeing another specialist in London today and is ruled out for the foreseeable future, while Martijn Reuser's groin injury will need another three to four weeks.

"Young Darren has a chance for Saturday, but he is by no means sure to play. We'll just have to wait and see how he is."

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