Matt's gasping for success
MATT Richards, who enjoyed a breathtaking full league debut for Ipswich Town on Sunday, never goes on to the pitch without his potential life-saver.The 18-year-old, who is struggling to overcome an ankle injury so he can keep his place against Wolverhampton at Molineux tonight, suffers from asthma.
By Elvin King
MATT Richards, who enjoyed a breathtaking full league debut for Ipswich Town on Sunday, never goes on to the pitch without his potential life-saver.
The 18-year-old, who is struggling to overcome an ankle injury so he can keep his place against Wolverhampton at Molineux tonight, suffers from asthma.
Just to make sure, he gives his special inhaler to the Town bench before every game.
"It is not normally a problem, although I did have to resort to it during an FA Youth Cup game this season," said Richards.
Another player known to be an asthmatic is Paul Scholes.
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The Manchester United midfielder uses one inhaler on a daily basis and another on match days.
Richards, who turned an ankle during training yesterday, faces a fitness test along with Darren Ambrose before Town lock horns with a Wolves side seeking a quick First Division double after their 4-2 victory at Portman Road two weeks ago.
"Matt Richards enjoyed a wonderful match on Sunday and despite his asthma he gets stronger as games go on," said Ipswich manager Joe Royle.
"With our injury situation we are stretched, but we will be fine."
Ambrose suffered a kick on the knee at Norwich and instead of training he spent time in a swimming pool yesterday. Both Richards and Ambrose are rated doubtful.
There is better news of Fabian Wilnis who felt a tight hamstring yesterday. He was immediately withdrawn, but if he fails to make it Royle will face a severe shortage of wing-backs.
"We need Fabian, and he has a good chance of playing," added Royle. "He has reached peak form right now. The swelling has gone down on Darren Ambrose's knee and he is better than he was."
Marcus Bent trained yesterday but did not feel right after suffering hamstring problems last week and has not been included in tonight's squad.
Ian Westlake has been added to the party and the 19-year-old from Clacton has played twice as a substitute this season.
John McGreal has not trained since damaging his back against Grimsby on February 22, while Mark Venus is a month away from fitness after a knee operation. Striker Finidi George is in Spain where his girlfriend is soon to give birth. Scans on his injured hip have revealed no serious damage.
If Ambrose fails to recover 16-year-old Dean Bowditch could make his full debut, or Martijn Reuser could partner Darren Bent up front.
Richard Naylor will also come into the equation and the versatile player could also feature at the back if Wilnis and/or Richards are ruled out. Matt Bloomfield is ready to be called into the party if anybody drops out.
Ipswich, who travelled to the midlands last night, have a home match with Stoke on Saturday and a trip to Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
Wolves are definitely without striker George Ndah, who picked up a hamstring injury in Saturday's 4-0 home win over Crystal Palace.
Last season's leading marksman, Dean Sturridge, looks set to replace him as the Molineux men seek to extend a record of just one defeat in 12 games this year.
Shaun Newton (cut foot), Lee Naylor (back) and skipper Paul Ince (gashed leg) are all expected to be passed fit.
Boss Dave Jones, who saw his team win 4-2 at Portman Road a fortnight ago, said: "I think Ipswich are a good side with quality players.
"They have kept the majority of their squad from the Premiership and I don't expect anything but a tough game.
"When we went down there they played some super football in the first half. I have seen them many times and they have played really well – and I hear they did it again at Norwich.
"But we have good players here and we more than matched them at their place. Now we have to try to do it all over again."
Ipswich squad: Marshall, Holland, Gaardsoe, Makin, Wilnis, Miller, Magilton, Wright, Richards, D Bent, Ambrose, Pullen, Naylor, Reuser, Bowditch, Abidallah, Westlake
Wolves: Murray, Irwin, Lescott, Butler, Naylor, Newton, Ince, Cameron, Kennedy, Sturridge, Miller, Oakes, Rae, Clyde, Blake, Proudlock.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire).