More misery for Venus

IPSWICH Town player of the year Mark Venus is struggling in his bid to join the Blues' promotion band-wagon.The 35-year-old left sided defender keeps being thwarted as he tries to make the final push towards Nationwide League action following a knee ligament injury.

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH Town player of the year Mark Venus is struggling in his bid to join the Blues' promotion band-wagon.

The 35-year-old left sided defender keeps being thwarted as he tries to make the final push towards Nationwide League action

following a knee ligament injury.

Manager Joe Royle said today: "Mark is desperate to play, he really is, but that final push is preventing him and I feel sorry for him

"Mark was as right as rain in training last week, but now each day he gets up he's

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feeling it again.

"Mark's return can be a big boost for us. We'll keep on the course we are in the hope that it will finally clear. If not then we'll have to have another chat with the physiotherapy people and decide what other course of action to take."

Another key central defender – 30-year-old right sided man John McGreal – is also working hard to return to a Town squad unbeaten in eight contests, a sequence

comprising seven First Division matches and one FA Cup tie.

McGreal's problem is also knee ligament trouble and he is still working in a bid to make the final breakthrough to resuming full training.

Royle said: "John has done so well for me since I came here. Having him back will be a big boost for us and it's certainly

something to look forward to."

With uncertainty surrounding the two stalwart rearguard men, the Blues manager has to explore possible loan options.

He may take a look at French defender from Lorient, Yohan Blouzin.

Blouzin's agent is touting him around

trying to set up trials but nothing has been arranged with Ipswich yet.

Just before Christmas the Town chief had Laurent Charvet at the Playford Road

training ground for a couple of days.

This French utility defender, who has been on non-contract forms with Monaco, was once signed by Royle for Manchester City from Newcastle for £1million.

Royle – with no cash to spend – was looking at a monthly deal but Charvet was after something more.

The Town manager has given his players two days off this week as they look ahead to Saturday's home match against Preston.

He said: "The lads are up to 40 games at the moment if you include pre-season. After the draw at Burnley I decided to give them Monday and today off. We'll get down to hard work again tomorrow."

Defender Chris Makin has missed the last two games due to suspension.

He is set for a return to the squad for the visit of Craig Brown's side, but the former Sunderland man yesterday finished training with a sore back and was receiving

treatment today.

The midfield pair of Jim Magilton and Tommy Miller continue under treatment for problems aggravated in the

1-1 draw at Turf Moor last Saturday.

Magilton has calf soreness and Miller continues to battle against nagging knee tendinitis discomfort.

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