Preston likely to be without striker

ONE thing is for certain - Ipswich Town will not start off the 2008/09 campaign as they began last season.

Elvin King

ONE thing is for certain - Ipswich Town will not start off the 2008/09 campaign as they began last season.

Pablo Counago had been fouled and Alan Lee had placed his penalty into the net inside two minutes of the opener 12 months ago against Sheffield Wednesday.

Town went on to win 4-1 on their way to a magnificent run of consecutive home wins.

A similar start at Portman Road against Preston tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) would be ideal, but Preston North End manager Alan Irvine has other ideas.

He brought his squad to Ipswich last night so that they will be fully rested and prepared for tomorrow's match.

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He is likely to be without striker Chris Brown, who has an ankle problem, but otherwise expects to have a full squad available that is set to include new signing Barry Nicholson although Sunderland loanee Ross Wallace is not considered match fit.

Energetic midfielder Richard Chaplow has promised Town that they will no easy ride tomorrow.

The former West Brom man has completed his first pre-season at Deepdale, and said: “It's been very tough, but we are fighting fit.

“The manager has made it interesting with trips to Austria and Scotland a success.

“And he has arranged our approach to tomorrow's game in the right manner.

“With rest and some training while in Ipswich these little things can make all the difference.

“Ipswich is a long way, and they have a good team, but all the lads are quietly positive that we can get the points.

“Our new stand is finished and there is a real buzz about the place. We feel we are good enough to make an impact in the league.”

There should be a good crowd tomorrow with more season tickets sold than this time last year, and the interest in the Blues' fortunes this season was highlighted by a remarkable attendance figure of over 17,000 for Monday's friendly against West Ham.

Tomorrow's likely squads

Ipswich Town: R Wright, Supple, D Wright, McAuley, Smith, Bruce, Balkestein, Haynes, Shumulikoski, Garvan, Miller, Quinn, Counago, Lisbie, Lee, Rhodes, Trotter, Peters, Naylor.

Preston: Lonergan, Hart, St Ledger, Mawene, Davidson, Nicholson, McKenna, Chaplow, Sedgewick, Mellor, Ormerod, Hawley, Brown, C Neal, L Neal, Jones, Whaley, Hill.

Mr P Taylor (Hertfordshire)

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