Injury-hit Town head for Palace

INJURY-HIT Ipswich could be forced into further changes for tomorrow's trip to Crystal Palace.Influential midfielder Gavin Williams will miss the match after limping out of the midweek draw at Stoke with a pelvic problem.

By Mel Henderson

INJURY-HIT Ipswich could be forced into further changes for tomorrow's trip to Crystal Palace.

Influential midfielder Gavin Williams will miss the match after limping out of the midweek draw at Stoke with a pelvic problem.

Richard Naylor and leading scorer Alan Lee, both absent from the 0-0 stalemate at the Britannia Stadium, are both rated doubtful for the Selhurst Park clash.


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Naylor suffered a badly bruised big toe in last week's FA Cup win over Swansea, while Lee is under treatment for a hamstring problem that flares up occasionally.

Club captain Jason De Vos will miss his fifth game on the trot after picking up a cracked metatarsal in training last month.

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Boss Jim Magilton said: “We have to be careful with Alan. He played last season with a tight hamstring and it went in the next game, which meant a month out.

“We will make a late call on him and it's the same with Richard Naylor.”

Magilton is able to call on defender Alex Bruce now that he has completed his two-game ban for accumulating ten yellow cards, a tally which Lee is just one away from matching.

But after successive clean sheets with a makeshift defence, and depending on Naylor's fitness, he may well be tempted to stick with a same-again back four.

Williams' injury has no connection with the groin injury that has plagued him for much of the season, even after he underwent an operation that sidelined him for seven weeks.

David Williams, the club's head of sports science, said: “He's damaged a ligament in his pelvis, it's a new injury entirely.

“Gavin has had some scans and we are also running some more tests on him. We are awaiting the results of those.

“He says the discomfort he was feeling in his groin has eased, which is encouraging, but it's obviously disappointing with this new problem.

“It's too early to tell how long he may be out.”

If Williams fails to make it, Magilton could give a full debut to recent recruit George O'Callaghan, who came off the bench at Stoke when the former West Ham player limped off.

The Ipswich boss must also decide whether to repeat the 4-5-1 formation that saw another new signing, striker Jonathan Walters, make his debut in midweek.

Palace, just one place higher than Town thanks to their marginally superior goal difference, are undefeated in their last seven league games - a sequence comprising three wins and four draws.

Manager Peter Taylor is likely to make changes, although his ploy of fielding ex-Ipswich favourite Shefki Kuqi as a lone striker frustrated Sunderland and helped to earn a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.

Dougie Freedman, who came on as a substitute in that game, is favourite to start alongside six-goal Kuqi as both James Scowcroft and Clinton Morrison are currently out of favour with Taylor.

Stuart Green, who followed the manager from Hull, is doubtful after dislocating his shoulder in midweek and veteran Northern Ireland midfielder Michael Hughes is pushing for a recall after a four-game absence.

SQUADS

CRYSTAL PALACE: Kiraly, Butterfield, Hudson, Cort, Lawrence, Ifill, Fletcher, Hughes, McAnuff, Kuqi, Freedman, Green, Kennedy, Scowcroft, Morrison, Ward, Soares and Speroni.

IPSWICH: Price, Sito, Wright, Wilnis, Harding, Peters, Legwinski, Garvan, Roberts, Walters, Casement, Naylor, Bruce, O'Callaghan, Richards, Haynes, Clarke and Supple

Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire).

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