Hermann's fighting fit to face Stoke

HERMANN Hreidarsson has been doing extra homework in the hope that he may be able to teach Stoke City a thing or two tomorrow at Portman Road.The experienced Icelandic defender is back in the Ipswich squad after a four-game ban - by far the longest of his distinguished career.

By Dave Allard

HERMANN Hreidarsson has been doing extra homework in the hope that he may be able to teach Stoke City a thing or two tomorrow at Portman Road.

The experienced Icelandic defender is back in the Ipswich squad after a four-game ban - by far the longest of his distinguished career.

He said: "It seems like an age since I last played, but I've not been letting things go - far from it. I've been doing extra training, all sorts of things, extra running stamina work and much more.


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"I've not been injured, so I've been doing everything the same as the rest of the lads. I've been

keeping my skills going in practice matches with all sorts of added stuff thrown in.

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"Being on a long lay-off like this is so frustrating. I've never experienced anything like it before. At previous clubs Crystal Palace, Wimbledon and Brentford I had one-game bans. This has been a

different matter and I've been determined to not to set myself back in any way and be ready for action again when the time comes."

That time could come tomorrow as Joe Royle's Blues go into a must-win game in search of more much-needed points.

Working with Hreidarsson on his intensive extra work schedule is striker Pablo Counago, who comes back from suspension next Tuesday night at Crystal Palace.

"We've been keeping each other going and that's been a big help too," continued the towering

Icelander.

"I hope to be picked tomorrow, but it's not certain and I'm taking nothing for granted.

"We are a bit off the pace at the moment, but making the play-offs is well within our grasp and I'm confident we can do it."

There is a chance striker Marcus Bent may also figure again after hamstring trouble.

Fabian Wilnis and Darren Ambrose have minor knocks, but should both be fit.

Stoke had a cracking 1-0 home win over Brighton in midweek while Town were drawing 1-1 at Wolves.

The team managed by Tony Pulis have pepped up their challenge considerably with two wins out of three. They beat Ipswich 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium early in the season.

THE SQUADS

Ipswich: Marshall, Makin, Gaardsoe, Holland, Richards, Hreidarsson, Wright, Magilton, Miller, Wilnis, Ambrose, D Bent, M Bent, Bowditch, Reuser, Naylor, Abidallah, Pullen.

Stoke: Banks, Thomas, Hall, Handyside, Shtanuk, Gudjonsson, Hoekstra, Gunnarsson, O'Connor, Mills, Greenacre, Neal, Richardson, Viander, Iwelumo, Cooke.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

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