Flu epidemic sweeps Portman Road

IPSWICH Town are taking every precaution to stop a flu epidemic ruining their chances of beating Norwich City in Sunday's Coca-Cola Championship derby at Carrow Road.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town are taking every precaution to stop a flu epidemic ruining their chances of beating Norwich City in Sunday's Coca-Cola Championship derby at Carrow Road (kick-off 1.15pm).

Key midfielder Owen Garvan missed last weekend's home draw with Sheffield United because of a virus, although he was back at the club yesterday and is set to train again today or tomorrow.

Manager Jim Magilton has also been under the weather, while there has been an outbreak of colds among office staff at Portman Road.

A club spokesman said: “We are doing all we can to keep any bugs away from the players and looking to keep a clean bill of health among those set to travel to Norwich at the weekend.”

To counteract any adverse reaction to Sunday's lunchtime start, Magilton has adapted his training sessions this week.

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The players have not been coming in so early and have been training during what used to be a break between morning and afternoon sessions. Wednesday is normally the players' day off, but they trained yesterday and the majority will have today off before the Norwich preparations begin in earnest with intensive sessions tomorrow and Saturday.

Jon Walters is sill hoping to shake off his thigh problems to return to the side at Carrow Road and Town have no new injury concerns.

They trained with former England coach Don Howe on Tuesday in two sessions, and the 73-year-old is due to return to the club for further sessions later in the season. Howe also spoke at length to the Blues coaching staff.

Town played a behind-closed-doors friendly in London against a Tottenham side yesterday with fringe players given a run-out with the hectic Christmas period in mind.

Ivan Campo, Kevin Lisbie, Jaime Peters, Danny Haynes and Jordan Rhodes were included in the Town side at Spurs Lodge, with the Blues taking the lead after half-an-hour through Lisbie. Troy Archibald-Henville equalised with David Hutton heading the winner in the 66th minute.

Earlier Hutton was denied when his free-kick was spectacularly tipped on to the post by keeper Shane Supple.

Town team: Supple, Peters, Griffiths, Campo, Balkestein, Eastman, Haynes (Murphy), Reason, Lisbie, Rhodes and Upson. Unused: Clark and Daniels.

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