Naylor boost for Town defence
IPSWICH Town today received a boost with news that experienced central defender Richard Naylor could be back in action next week.The 30-year-old one-club man with a total of 341 appearances to his name, is pencilled in to return from a long absence in next Tuesday's Suffolk Premier Cup game at Ridgeons League Lowestoft Town.
By Elvin King
IPSWICH Town today received a boost with news that experienced central defender Richard Naylor could be back in action next week.
The 30-year-old one-club man with a total of 341 appearances to his name, is pencilled in to return from a long absence in next Tuesday's Suffolk Premier Cup game at Ridgeons League Lowestoft Town.
Naylor has been out since January after damaging his toe in an FA Cup fourth round home win over Swansea City. He came back briefly against Crystal Palace two games later and played through the pain barrier.
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Last summer he underwent an operation to repair a cartilage problem in the toe and has been making progress since.
Ipswich physio Matt Byard said: “Richard's rehabilitation has been quite remarkable. It's a case now of moving on and looking at him playing in the reserves.
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“Next week against Lowestoft is an option or maybe the week later, in the Combination against Norwich.”
Naylor will be in the stands tomorrow when Ipswich will be out to stretch their winning home run to eight games against a Preston side that have not won away this season.
His imminent return takes the pressure off recruiting a central defensive loanee, although Blues boss Jim Magilton was working hard towards this end during the week.
A clean sheet tomorrow would be just what the doctor ordered before Ipswich go into a two-week break caused by international qualifiers.
Owen Garvan ran the show in the first half when Town lost a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Burnley on Tuesday.
If he is in the same mood, Town supporters will be in for a treat as Ipswich play only their second traditional Saturday 3pm game of the season.
Garvan is still glowing with pride at representing his country when playing for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s last month, but his main priority is still Ipswich Town.
Garvan, 19, who is set to face England at Under-21 level later this month, said: “I'm delighted to be involved and can't wait for the games.
“My first taste of international football - pulling on that green jersey, singing the national anthem and walking out in front of our fans - was a wonderful experience.
“I felt immensely proud and I'm so grateful for any chances I get.
“However, Ipswich is my priority. I firmly believe that if I'm playing well for them then other things like possible international call-ups will take care of themselves.”
Preston, who beat Southampton 5-1 at home on Tuesday, are set to be unchanged.
Manager Paul Simpson said: “It's difficult to ignore all the rubbish that has been thrown at us recently.
“You do start to question every little thing that you do. I think everyone knows what we have to put up with. However, I sleep well every night and the Southampton result and performance had been coming. Now we must carry it on.”
Patrick Agyemang could start after his two goals on Tuesday, while Andy Carroll, on loan from Newcastle, is back from suspension.
Ipswich Town: Alexander; Wright, Bruce, De Vos, Harding; Walters, Miller, Garvan, Legwinski, Lee, Counago, Clarke, Supple, Wilnis, Haynes, Casement, Peters
Preston North End: Lonergan, Jones, Mawene, Chilvers, Hill, Sedgwick, Nicholls, Davidson, Carter, Gallagher, Hawley, C Neal, Ledger, Agyemang, Mellor, Carroll.
Referee: Mr M Russell (Hertfordshire).