Joe may look to loan

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle today confirmed that he might bring in a loan player to cover for injured midfield dynamo Ian Westlake.The Blues face the prospect of playing for the next six weeks without Westlake after the 21-year-old from Clacton suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Joe Royle today confirmed that he might bring in a loan player to cover for injured midfield dynamo Ian Westlake.

The Blues face the prospect of playing for the next six weeks without Westlake after the

21-year-old from Clacton suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday.

An X-ray showed that no bones are broken, but until the swelling goes down the full extent of his injury will not be known.

“We are looking at being without Ian for between four and six weeks,” said Royle. “For Saturday's match at Sheffield United I plan to go with what we have.

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“After the weekend I will look at whether we need to bring in a loan signing. We are well served number-wise in midfield as in any other position, but Ian has a unique part to play.

“He provides energy and legs and is the engine room from which we function and he is always liable to weigh in with a goal.”

Matt Richards, who has played over 100 matches at full back, may come into consideration for a switch to the left side of midfield, with new loan signing Jay McEveley expected to make his Town debut at left back at Bramall Lane.

Royle added: “Matt will continue to be in the equation.”

With Jason De Vos and Nicky Forster also suffering bad injuries this season, the Blues boss has had his plans for the start of the Championship season affected.

But he is still upbeat. He said: “Considering everything, we have had a terrific start. This is the third team we have built in three years. You have to accept that players will get injured from time to time and we just have to get on with it.”

An ever-present in the league this season, Westlake is hoping to return to action as early as possible, but he has resigned himself to the likelihood of missing out on four high-profile Championship games.

He said: “Everybody wants to play in games like the ones coming up against Sheffield United, Southampton, Norwich and Crystal Palace.

“These are the matches where you want to show what you can do. I am using crutches to get around at the moment and hopefully I will know more at the weekend.”

Westlake has been virtually injury free since he broke into the first team and has now made a total of 105 senior appearances.

He added: “I am devastated and it is so annoying. I have been very fortunate with injuries right through from my youth team days, which makes it worse now to have to sit on the sidelines.

“I have scored against Sheffield United in my previous three games against them and was looking to add to that tally.

“Matches against South-ampton, Norwich and Crystal Palace are also big ones that no one likes to miss.”

Revealing how the injury happened, Westlake added: “It was a nothing situation really and there was no tackle involved. I went to turn and check and my ankle gave way.

“I have done similar moves dozens of times, but in this instance the ankle took all of my body weight.”

Westlake is wearing a special boot that takes pressure off his ankle, so that the swelling does not get worse.

He is putting ice packs on at regular intervals.

Ipswich's other midfield alternatives are Jim Magilton, Darren Currie, Kevin Horlock and Owen Garvan, with Jimmy Juan waiting in the wings.

Full-back or midfielder Scott Mitchell is back in full training as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery. The 20-year-old picked up the injury in the reserves towards the end of last season.

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