Lee 'bitterly disappointed' to miss game

ALAN Lee today said he was “bitterly disappointed” at missing tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship game at Portman Road.

Elvin King

ALAN Lee today said he was “bitterly disappointed” at missing tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship game at Portman Road.

The 30-year-old striker was sold by the Blues to Crystal Palace last month for a fee that could rise to £900,000.

The bustling Lee, a big favourite with Town fans, is suffering from a hamstring injury that has ruled him out against his former club in tomorrow's game that is being televised live on Sky Sports (kick-off 5.20pm).

Lee said today: “I will be having treatment on Saturday morning at Selhurst Park so I won't be at the game. I am bitterly disappointed. The injury is not serious but the timing was completely wrong.”

Lee continued: “I am excited about Crystal Palace. When you leave one club you have to move on and close the door. I would like to thank the fans, lads, the management, including Bryan Klug and Steve Foley, for a great few years at Ipswich - a wonderful club.”

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While he said the right things publicly when he first arrived at Selhurst Park, privately Lee would have surely have preferred to have stayed with Town. He enjoyed his football here more than at any other club and found a home in Constable Country that fulfilled all his dreams of quality living.

When Town were making overtures to Francis Jeffers, Lee's position at the club was under threat. And despite mutterings to the contrary from the club he expected his days to be numbered.

When Jeffers turned his back on Ipswich, an ever-bright Lee negotiated an excellent new deal with Blues boss Jim Magilton. But once Ipswich started looking at David Nugent and then Jon Stead, Lee's position was again put in doubt and it is believed he departed with the feeling that he was not wanted.

Ex-Town striker James Scowcroft is out with a hamstring strain for a side that have lost all three away league matches. This leaves Palace light up front, although Shaun Derry is hoping Palace can get their season back on track at Portman Road.

The midfielder said: “I love going to Ipswich as they are a proper football club, they play the game in the right way and they have great support.

“This is a very important week for us and we need to start picking up away points. Our away form is a concern and what better way to start putting it right than at Ipswich and on Sky.”

Eagles forgotten man Neil Danns has declared himself fit - six months after making his last Palace appearance.

Former Birmingham and Colchester midfielder Danns missed the back end of last season and the start of this one with a niggling groin injury.

But the 25-year-old Liverpudlian could make his long-awaited return. He said: “I've got five weeks of running behind me and two weeks of football so I feel ready.

“So, it's up to the manager and the physios - but if the gaffer asks me to play against Ipswich then I will be ready.”