Shefki back for the Blues

FORMER Ipswich Town favourite Shefki Kuqi could be back in the Ipswich Town squad for their crunch Coca-Cola Championship game against Charlton Athletic at Portman Road tomorrow.

Elvin King

By Elvin King

FORMER Ipswich Town favourite Shefki Kuqi could be back in the Ipswich Town squad for their crunch Coca-Cola Championship game against Charlton Athletic at Portman Road tomorrow (kick off 3pm).

The Blues have agreed a loan deal with Crystal Palace until the end of the season for the Finland International striker and as long as the paperwork is completed in time Kuqi will put on a Town shirt and try and boost the quest to obtain a play-off place.

Ipswich manager Jim Magilton moved for Kuqi today after confirmation that Jonathan Walters will be out for up to six weeks as he is to undergo a cartilage operation on his left knee.

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And also missing tomorrow against Charlton will be central defender Richard Naylor who has suffered a reaction to his slipped disc problem in his neck and will be reassessed next week.

Magilton said: “We had to move quickly with the news that Jon will be out and Shefki is available and ready to come in and do his bit.

“We sought David Nugent last month because for the first time for a long while we had the cash to do that.

“But it came down to the individual and there are few Premier League clubs who are reluctant to let their players go.

“Shefki's arrival is not a last resort and we all know what he can do.

“He will be lifted by our crowd and the team also needs a lift after Tuesday's disappointing display with a 4-1 defeat at Barnsley.

“We are still in the hunt for promotion and we are one result away from getting our season back on track again.

“A victory against Charlton will see everybody optimistic once more and we will be back on the straight and narrow.”

Magilton is expected to keep Alan Lee and Pablo Counago as his front two tomorrow, saying: “They both did well at Barnsley and have got the bit between their teeth.

“If Shefki's paperwork is completed then he will be available and we will decide how to use him.

“I am also chasing other players and the list I have already contacted is startling. I don't think I will have a defender in before the game but if the right one becomes available then it could still happen.

“Alex Bruce and the rest of our defenders have done well and we have managed to enjoy a wonderful home run. We will be looking for this to continue although an experienced defender who can add some composure would be a positive addition at this time of the season.

“My message to the team tomorrow is to go for it and show desperation for the three points.

“Not in a gung ho way but with a quality performance showing a desire to get the right outcome.”

Walters suffered a reaction to his knee problem against Sheffield United at home last week and Magilton says that the player is devastated.

Magilton added: “He has seen a specialist and will undergo an operation which I am sure he will come back from better.

“Knowing the boy if he can be around and available by the time of the play-offs, if we get there, then he will. He will be devastated if his season ends in this manner.”

Danny Haynes is responding to treatment for his groin problem but remains a doubt but Sito Castro is expected to be available after going over on an ankle and being out for a week.

A crowd of over 24,000 is expected as Ipswich face a team that they lost against 3-1 at The Valley.

Former Blue Darren Ambrose scored twice for Charlton while Lee had a penalty saved and the Addicks had defender Johnathan Fortune sent off at the end after a confrontation with Lee.

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