Keane suffers strikers blow

TAMAS Priskin and Jon Stead, Ipswich Town's two forgotten strikers, could both be thrust back into the limelight at Plymouth Argyle this weekend.

Carl Marston

Ipswich soccer

By Carl Marston

TAMAS Priskin and Jon Stead, Ipswich Town's two forgotten strikers, could both be thrust back into the limelight at Plymouth Argyle this weekend.

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Priskin has been an unused substitute during Town's last two games, while Stead did not even make the final 18-man squad for either of these fixtures, which both ended in 1-1 home draw against Swans and Watford.

Two of the three strikers employed by Roy Keane on Tuesday night - Connor Wickham and Jon Walters - could both miss out on Saturday's trip to Home Park, which means other options are required.

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Wickham is definitely unavailable for Town's next two games, due to international commitments with England Under-17s.

The 16-year-old sensation, who was used as a substitute against both Swansea and Watford, was given special permission by the Football Association to be involved with Town on Tuesday night.

But he has since joined up with his England under-17 team-mates ahead of the European Championship qualifiers in Azerbaijan, which take place during the last week of this month.

Wickham will hope to enjoy some action in the three games against Kazakhstan (October 26), hosts Azerbaijan (October 26) and Serbia (October 31). He will therefore also miss Town's next home game, against Derby County on Saturday week.

Walters, meanwhile, looks like being a serious doubt for the crunch trip to Plymouth, after hobbling off with an ankle injury during the second minute of stoppage time against the Hornets.

Keane admitted: “When a player like Jon Walters asks to come off, you know there is something wrong.

“He is similar in that way to David Norris, and we have missed David since the opening game. It is a concern.”

Walters is Town's leading scorer with four goals, and is the only player to feature in all 15 league and cup games this season. He has started every league game, and was a substitute in the two Carling Cup matches.

An enforced spell on the sidelines for Walters would therefore be a huge blow for a Town side already rock bottom of the Championship.

Keane also expressed a concern, before last weekend's game against Swansea, about Pablo Counago's ability to play three games in eight days, due to fitness.

Counago started against the Swans, and again against Watford, but the Town boss might have little option but to stick with the Spaniard in Devon.

The alternatives include recalling Priskin, after his two brief outings with Hungary, and giving Stead another chance. The ex-Sunderland and Sheffield United target man has recently been linked with a loan move to Derby.

Keane might also consider operating with just one man up front.

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