Walters in frame for skipper's job

JON Walters is in the frame to become permanent Ipswich Town captain after impressing manager Roy Keane in the skipper's role in recent games.

Elvin King

JON Walters is in the frame to become permanent Ipswich Town captain after impressing manager Roy Keane in the skipper's role in recent games.

Walters will lead the team out again tonight in the Championship fixture against Watford at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm) when 16-year-old Connor Wickham's amazing long-throw ability could earn the striker a starting place.

Leading scorer Walters has worn the armband for the last three matches since Alex Bruce suffered a groin injury in the 4-0 home defeat by Newcastle United.

And with Bruce set to remain on the bench, Keane said: “I will have a look at the captain situation.

“Jon has enjoyed the job and he has led well.

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“I spoke to Alex at the start of the season and said I would see how it panned out, and it is a decision for me to make.

“Freeing Gareth McAuley from the role has enabled him to get on with his game.”

Wickham astounded everybody at Portman Road on Saturday with a couple of long throws that would have reached the far side of the six-yard box if they had not been intercepted.

Stoke City for one have shown what can be achieved by these direct tactics and Wickham has the ability to throw further than Rory Delap.

“It's a pity Connor cannot follow the ball in and head the ball himself,” said Keane. “He surprised the opposition on Saturday and it might get him into the starting XI tonight.

“We also have Carlos Edwards and David Wright with long throws and it is nice to have this in your locker.”

Ipswich have no injuries other than the long-term ones involving David Norris and Luca Civelli and Keane reflected today and said:

“Maybe I will keep an unchanged side with the starting line-up all doing well against Swansea.

“Fitness comes into it with two games close together but I will not be making changes for changes sake.

“Carlos Edwards will come back into the reckoning as he has done well since he arrived, but the travelling and two games for Trinidad and Tobago can take it out of you.”

And Keane, who is not expected to start with ex-Watford striker Tamas Priskin, has called for more of the same from the fans.

“They were outstanding again on Saturday and we need that again tonight,” said Keane.

“They would love to see us win - of course they would - but they appreciate seeing players giving 100 per cent effort and David Wright received a standing ovation after making two or three strong tackles.”

Twenty-year-old Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverley should be fit to start for Watford tonight after taking a knock in the 1-0 win at Middlesbrough at the weekend. He has scored five league goals this season.

Heider Helguson, who is on loan from QPR, is still suffering from a calf problem and unlikely to feature, but John Eustace is expected to be back after illness.

Regular deputy keeper Richard Lee is out with young Jonathan Bond expected to cover for former Ipswich schoolboy player Scott Loach.

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