Elliott to make Town history
NEW recruit Matt Elliott will tonight claim a special place in the Ipswich record books - regardless of the outcome at Walsall.The on-loan Leicester defender will become the 400th player to appear for Town since they turned professional in 1936.
NEW recruit Matt Elliott will tonight claim a special place in the Ipswich record books - regardless of the outcome at Walsall.
The on-loan Leicester defender will become the 400th player to appear for Town since they turned professional in 1936.
Elliott, 35, is a certain starter for injury-hit Ipswich as they look to avoid a fourth successive defeat that would seriously damage their play-off chances.
The former Scotland international will bolster a defence breached eight times in their last three outings as he starts his month-long temporary stay at Portman Road.
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Elliott follows milestone men Ron Murchison (100), Bryan Hamilton (200) and Ian Marshall (300) to become the latest in a long line of debut-making Ipswich players.
He goes straight into the side after only meeting his new colleagues yesterday, with broken toe victim Richard Naylor requiring an injection before partnering him in defence.
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Town boss Joe Royle has lost the services of seven senior stars to injury, including defensive pair Drissa Diallo and Georges Santos after they received facial wounds in the first half of Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Millwall.
They join John McGreal (knee), Martijn Reuser (knee), Chris Bart-Williams (back), Pablo Counago (hamstring) and long-term casualty Chris Makin, who will undergo exploratory hip surgery tomorrow, on the sick list.
Royle said: “We'll have 16 on the bus and Richard will play. An injection doesn't bother him - he's hard as nails.
“Nine of the squad are our own academy boys, so it's a great day for the academy.”
Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis rang from his Bury St Edmunds home this morning to confirm that a stomach bug, which prevented him from training yesterday, had cleared up.
“We'll pick Kelvin up on the way through,” confirmed the Town boss. “He is okay, although still a little woozy.
“But although we've had our problems with injuries and defensively, we will still have a side capable of winning tonight.
“It's never easy at Walsall, where the pitch is tight. But we have to start winning again. We don't want to let this run get any deeper.”
Walsall collected three points for the first time this year when they edged past rock-bottom Wimbledon at the Bescot Stadium on Saturday, former Norwich skipper Neil Emblen scoring the only goal.
Manager Colin Lee's hand is strengthened by the return of former England star Paul Merson, a substitute at the weekend and a likely starter tonight.
He has also made a couple of signings, bringing in Keith Andrews and Craig Burley to add some steel, skill and experience to the Saddlers' midfield.
Andrews is on loan from Wolves, while Burley has signed until the end of the following a short-term stay at Preston, for whom he played at Portman Road last month.
The nephew of ex-Town boss George Burley, he could start this evening alongside former Tottenham and Everton star Vinny Samways, who was absent at the weekend because of a virus.
The 18th-placed Saddlers have triumphed just once in their last 12 league and cup outings, but have managed clean sheets in their last two, the first of which came courtesy of a goalless draw at West Ham.