Town aim not to give ailing club a boost

ARE Ipswich Town going to complete 2007 by handing yet another ailing club a timely pick-me-up?Jim Magilton's Coca-Cola Championship side visit a Coventry team that has only won three games at the Ricoh Arena all season - and were beaten at home by Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

By Elvin King

ARE Ipswich Town going to complete 2007 by handing yet another ailing club a timely pick-me-up?

Jim Magilton's Coca-Cola Championship side visit a Coventry team that has only won three games at the Ricoh Arena all season - and were beaten at home by Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

They have the third leakiest defence in the Championship with 37 goals conceded with only Southampton (39) and Colchester (42) worse off.

And they have also been hit by a lack of players caused by a long injury list and two suspensions.

The Blues, who have won just twice away this calendar year, travel to face a Coventry outfit that is in a similar position to a number of clubs Ipswich have visited this campaign.

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Queens Park Rangers, Norwich, Cardiff, Charlton, Leicester were all in the midst of poor runs, and on paper there for the taking.

The Blues failed to take advantage against any of them and if Town are to end the year on a high note - and possibly regain a top six place - they will have to play much better than in their recent away games.

Since the match at Norwich on November 4 when the Blues did well in the opening half of a 2-2 draw, away performances have been pretty dreadful with just two goals in five straight defeats.

They won at Coventry on Boxing Day last year, which could be a positive pointer, with their only wins away from Portman Road since being at Hull on March 6 and Luton on March 17.

Sixteen games have gone by since the 2-0 success at Kenilworth Road, while at home Magilton's men have been virtually invincible.

Coventry, who suffered their fifth home defeat of the season on Boxing Day, have four senior strikers unavailable.

Leon Best (five bookings) and Kevin Kyle (straight red) are both banned while Leon McKenzie (muscle tear) and Robbie Simpson (knee ligament) are injured.

This leaves Michael Mifsud to partner Dele Adebola up front with the latter having been a regular on the bench in recent weeks.

Former Ipswich keeper Andy Marshall is back in goal after Dimi Konstantopoulos was dropped after letting in four at Blackpool last week, while right-back David McNamee pulled a hamstring on Wednesday and is out.

Michael Hughes missed the Crystal Palace defeat, but could be back if he passes a fitness test.

Possible squads

Coventry City: Marshall, Osbourne, de Zeeuw, Turner, Borrowdale, Tabb, Doyle, Hughes, Gray, Mifsud, Adebola, Konstantopoulos, Thornton, Ward, Andrews, Page.

Ipswich Town: Alexander, Wright, Wilnis, De Vos, Harding, Walters, Miller, Garvan, Clarke, Lee, Counago, Supple, Williams, Haynes, Trotter, Legwinski, Roberts, Casement, Rhodes, Naylor.

Referee: Mr I Williamson (Berkshire).

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