Naylor: Go for Scow, Joe

RICHARD Naylor today admitted he would love to see former strike partner James Scowcroft back at Ipswich.Scowcroft, 29, returns with Leicester tomorrow, when he fears he may have to settle for a place on the bench, but Naylor is talking about being reunited with him on a permanent basis.

RICHARD Naylor today admitted he would love to see former strike partner James Scowcroft back at Ipswich.

Scowcroft, 29, returns with Leicester tomorrow, when he fears he may have to settle for a place on the bench, but Naylor is talking about being reunited with him on a permanent basis.

A deal could well be struck in the summer if Town boss Joe Royle decides to follow up his interest in a player who will be out of contract by then.

Naylor, 27, said: “I see Scowie as a Premier League player and whatever happens that's where I think he will be playing his football next season.


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“Several clubs have apparently shown an interest in him and if he chooses to leave Leicester I can't see him being short of offers.

“I am sure he would love to come back here and, as a quality player, he would be a welcome addition to our squad.

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“I know Joe likes him but it's still early days. We'll just have to wait and see.”

A lot has changed since Scowcroft departed for the Midlands in a £3million deal in the summer of 2001.

One of the most significant switches has seen his former co-striker Naylor converted into one of the most accomplished central defenders at Championship level.

Scowcroft, meanwhile, has featured more regularly than any of his Walkers Stadium colleagues this season, starting 34 of his side's 35 games and appearing as a substitute in the other.

But their eagerly awaited clash may still not materialise, with five-goal Scowcroft almost convinced he will be dropped to the bench and replaced by new boy Mark De Vries.

The Dutch striker followed manager Levein from Hearts last month and after four substitute appearances is desperate to break his scoring duck.

Naylor added: “If Scowie does play up front it wouldn't worry me. I respect him as a player but I don't fear him.

“If it's not him, and I have to play against someone else, I'll still play my usual game. I'll just be doing my utmost to help us win and collect another three points.

“That's what it is all about now. We just want to keep winning and stay at the top of the league.

“We weren't at our best when we won at Sheffield United last week and we have taken our training very seriously this week. The aim is to get a bit of form back.

“There are banana skins out there for us and we must avoid them. We're not so good that we can just turn up and beat teams.”

Town are boosted by the fact that Darren Bent has recovered sufficiently from the leg injury that saw him hobble off at Bramall Lane six days ago.

Co-striker Shefki Kuqi, who broke his nose in the same game, will also play as the pair seek to add to their respective 14-goal tallies for the season.

Leicester are unbeaten in their last seven outings - four in the Championship and three in the FA Cup, in which they travel to meet Charlton in the fifth round tomorrow week.

Midfielder Gareth Williams, substituted with hamstring trouble in last week's 1-1 home draw with Crewe, is their biggest doubt.

Australian international Danny Tiatto, who has flown back from international duty in South Africa, is also a concern with a similar problem.

Levein, a former Scotland defender, took charge on November 1 last year and the Foxes have only been beaten in four of their 18 games since then.

SQUADS

IPSWICH: Davis, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Unsworth, Miller, Magilton, Horlock, Westlake, Currie, Bent, Kuqi, Karbassiyoon, Richards, Bowditch and Price.

LEICESTER: Walker, Maybury, Heath, Dabizas, Stewart, Gillespie, Williams, Gudjonsson, Tiatto, Scowcroft, Connolly, Makin, Dublin, Nalis, Hughes, Gemmill, De Vries and Hirschfeld.

Referee: Kevin Wright (Huntingdon).

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