Roy set to tinker again

CHANGES are likely for this afternoon's crunch contest at Portman Road.

Carl Marston

CHANGES are likely for this afternoon's crunch contest at Portman Road.

Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane looks certain to tinker with his team, for the visit of in-form Swansea City, and for several reasons.

The previous game's defeat at Barnsley, the arrival of a new loan keeper in Asmir Begovic, the return of skipper Alex Bruce and the various midweek international commitments could all play a part in Keane's plans.

The indications are that Begovic, a Bosnia-Herzegovina international, could replace Richard Wright in goal, following his loan move from Portsmouth on Thursday.

Whatever Keane's decision, Wright at least has more competition for the No. 1 berth - before Begovic's arrival, and following Shane Supple's retirement earlier in the season, the Town boss only had a choice of Wright or the inexperienced Arran Lee-Barrett.

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Meanwhile, defender Bruce is back in contention this weekend, after a groin injury that sidelined him for the last two games at Sheffield United and Barnsley.

And Town also had a quartet of players in action for their respective countries during the week. Carlos Edwards, Gareth McAuley, Tamas Priskin and Owen Garvan have all been away on international duty.

“I'll be looking to play the new keeper (Begovic) as soon as possible. I'll make my decision after training,” confirmed Keane.

Begovic himself is looking forward to playing some first team football, after just four appearances in the Premier League at Portsmouth. He has also chalked up a total of 29 games for Macclesfield, Bournemouth and Yeovil during various loan stints over the last three years.

Speaking about his move to Portman Road, on a three-month loan deal, Begovic said: “It was too good an opportunity to turn down, and my intention is to play first team football during my stay.”

Wright has been ever-present in the league since his return to Ipswich from West Ham during the summer of 2008, although individual errors have begun to creep into his game in recent weeks.

The 31-year-old was disappointed to let in the opening goal at Doncaster Rovers, when he was out-muscled by striker Waide Fairhurst, and was also at fault for Sheffield United's last gasp equaliser in a 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane, when he dropped a corner.

Keane continued: “There might be one or two changes.

“Alex (Bruce) is obviously available again after injury, and we have got the new keeper in as well. So I have one or two options.

“Young Connor (Wickham) could also come back in. He has done well in one or two reserve matches.

“Gareth (McAuley) and Tamas (Priskin) both arrived back last night (Thursday), while Carlos Edwards only got back about 10 minutes ago (9.30am yesterday morning).

“We'll have to wait and see how they all feel.

“Carlos always plays in the games for Trinidad but it's the travelling as much as anything else that is the problem. With two games in four days, it's possible that we will save him for Tuesday,” added Keane, with reference to next Tuesday night's game at home to Watford.

Edwards notched his 78th cap for Trinidad & Tobago during Wednesday night's 2-2 draw against Mexico, following hot on the heels of his 77th appearance in Saturday's 4-0 defeat at the hands of Costa Rica.

Defender McAuley featured in Northern Ireland's goalless draw against the Czech Republic on Wednesday night, while striker Priskin was a last minute substitute in Hungary's 1-0 win at group winners Denmark.

However, Town's trio will not be going to the World Cup Finals next summer. Trinidad & Tobago finished rock bottom of their qualifying group, Northern Ireland finished fourth in Group One, and Hungary were also fourth in Group Four behind winners Slovakia.

Out-of-favour midfielder Garvan, meanwhile, skippered the Republic of Ireland under-21 team to a 1-1 draw against Switzerland on Tuesday night, when he scored a late equaliser.

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