Lots to worry about ahead of Boro visit

THERE are two worries dominating the thoughts of Blues' fans prior to tomorrow's Championship game against Middlesbrough at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm).

Elvin King

THERE are two worries dominating the thoughts of Blues' fans prior to tomorrow's Championship game against Middlesbrough at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm).

Firstly, if recent arrivals David Healy and Daryl Murphy could not get into a struggling Sunderland side are they the answer to Town's current critical lack of goal power?

And secondly, if Ipswich cannot compete against a poor Preston side that was walloped 4-1 at home by a run-of-the-mill Barnsley outfit on Tuesday, are they capable of moving up the table?

With a tough task against Gordon Strachan's side followed by four consecutive away matches, the Ipswich faithful are concerned that their fourth-from-bottom side will be deeper in relegation trouble by the end of the month.

Town manager Roy Keane is pinning his hopes on Sunderland loanees Healy and Murphy scoring the goals that will help his side turn the corner and move out of relegation bother.

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There needs to be an improvement after Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Deepdale last weekend, and Keane says that going back to his former club was a wise move.

He will be accused of being blinkered in his signings and his ability to bring in the best available players will be questioned.

Healy and Murphy join Grant Leadbitter, Carlos Edwards and Jack Colback as players Keane has brought from his former club at the Stadium of Light.

But Keane argues: “In this instance signing David and Daryl will be a benefit.

“It helps that you know players and what they are about.

“When you go into discussions it helps to know players and as soon as I spoke to them it was obvious that they both wanted to come.”

Keane confirmed that he will be working hard to bring in a couple of defenders when emergency loan deals become operative again next week, and how he did search for newcomers from clubs other than Sunderland.

“The feedback I got was that certain players were unavailable,” he added.

“But then they moved to other clubs around deadline day. I've got a long memory so I won't be forgetting.”

Certain players react best with certain managers and, while Healy and Murphy struggled under Steve Bruce at Sunderland, they may well hit the jackpot at Portman Road.

If they don't - and Town carry on playing as poorly as they did at Preston - it could prove to be a nail-biting last three months of the campaign.

If Healy and Murphy prove their fitness in training they could well be involved tomorrow - if not they will be line for a debut at QPR on Tuesday.

Jon Walters and Brian Murphy are both set to be ruled out again, while Keane has to decide on what changes to make after the Preston defeat.

David Wright, Owen Garvan, Alan Quinn, Pablo Counago, Carlos Edwards and Lee Martin are in line for a recall.

Likely squads

Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett, Rosenior, McAuley, Delaney, D Wright, Balkestein, Peters, Edwards, Leadbitter, Norris, Colback, Garvan, Quinn, Martin, Stead, Counago, D Murphy, Healy, McLoughlin.

Middlesbrough: Coyne, Hoyte, McMahon, Wheater, Grounds, Flood, O'Neil, Lita, Killen, Arca, Franks, Taylor, McManus, Steele, Bennett, Walker, McDonald, Miller, McNaughton.

Referee: Mr K Hill (Hertfordshire).

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