Jason may put Blues first

JASON De Vos is ready to put club before country and retire from international football.The 30-year-old Ipswich defender has already pulled out of Canada's squad for their last World Cup qualifier in Guatemala on November 17.

By Mel Henderson

JASON De Vos is ready to put club before country and retire from international football.

The 30-year-old Ipswich defender has already pulled out of Canada's squad for their last World Cup qualifier in Guatemala on November 17.

And with his dreams of representing his country in the 2006 finals in Germany already in ruins, De Vos admits he may have already played his last international game.

If he decides to quit altogether there will be no tears shed at Portman Road, where he has emerged as a key figure in Town's promotion bid.

A tower of strength since his summer move from Wigan, he has returned injured from his last two transatlantic trips.

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But despite a stress fracture of the tibia and, more recently, a hairline toe fracture, De Vos has battled on and will be in his usual place when Ipswich visit Leicester City at the Walkers Stadium tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

He said: “I have some big decisions to make about my future with Canada. I will sit down with my family and discuss the situation and also speak to Frank Yallop.

“It's not something I will rush into and I will give it careful thought. But it's fair to say that I am considering my career at international level.

“I will be 36 by the time the next World Cup comes along and at that age it's very unlikely that I will be playing international football.”

Ipswich boss Joe Royle is keeping his fingers crossed that striker Darren Bent will pass a

pre-match fitness test and return to the starting line-up tonight.

Bent missed Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Burnley because of a hamstring injury and was

initially ruled out of the Leicester game. But he has shown rapid improvement over the last few days and was on board when the Town coach set off for the East Midlands this morning.

Royle said: “Darren has done enough so far to be in with a chance and it showed on Saturday what a loss he was. We can't afford to be without players like him.”

Full-back Fabian Wilnis is available again after serving a three-game ban, which increases Royle's defensive options as he looks to lead his team to a second successive away win following the 2-1 triumph at Coventry earlier this month.

Young goalkeeper Lewis Price will be making his seventh senior appearances as he continue to deputise for back injury victim Kelvin Davis.

Managerless Leicester may have won only four of their 13 league games this season, but they have been beaten just once - by high-flying QPR - in their last seven outings.

Victory this evening would take them to within five points of Town in what is already a congested Coca-Cola Championship.

On the other hand, an away win could see Joe Royle's team reclaim top spot.

Dave Bassett and Howard Wilkinson are in charge of team affairs at the Walkers Stadium after last week's sudden departure of Micky Adams and the over-60 pair have quickly made their mark.

Not only did they recall 38-year-old former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown for their first game in charge, a 1-1 draw at Coventry, they have also taken him off the transfer list.

Another veteran, striker Dion Dublin, was recalled for Saturday's clash with his former club and

netted in the 70th minute, only for ex-Ipswich defender Chris Makin to concede an own goal that cost the Foxes two very valuable points.

Leicester will make at least two changes, ex-Blackburn and Leeds winger Jason Wilcox lasting only 13 minutes at Highfield Road after suffering cruciate ligament damage that will keep him out for the rest of the season and loanee Kevin Harper returning to Portsmouth.

That would appear to pave the way for James Scowcroft, a substitute on Saturday, to return to the starting line-up, while former Manchester City star Danny Tiatto is available again after serving a one-game ban.

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