Royle's striker woes

DARREN Ambrose is struggling to be fit for Ipswich's clash with play-off rivals Wolves at Molineux tomorrow.The 19-year-old, with 11 goals to his credit this season, took a hefty blow on his right knee in the opening stages of Sunday's 2-0 win at Norwich.

By Mel Henderson

DARREN Ambrose is struggling to be fit for Ipswich's clash with play-off rivals Wolves at Molineux tomorrow.

The 19-year-old, with 11 goals to his credit this season, took a hefty blow on his right knee in the opening stages of Sunday's 2-0 win at Norwich.

Marcus Bent, who missed the trip to Carrow Road with a hamstring injury, remains doubtful – and boss Joe Royle admitted: "We've got a bit of a problem up front."


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The silver lining to this particular cloud is that Royle has at least managed to secure Dean Bowditch's release from England Under-17 duty next week.

He confirmed: "I spoke to John Peacock, who coaches the national team, and he confirmed Dean can stay with us. He said first team football with Ipswich is as good as anything for the kid right now."

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Bowditch, who will not be 17 until June, had a dream debut against the Canaries, setting up both his side's goals in a dazzling 20-minute cameo

appearance.

The young striker could make his full debut at Molineux, although Royle made the position clear when he said: "It is a possibility, but not a probability.

"I am hoping that either Darren or Marcus makes it. Marcus looks to have a better chance, as Darren is still very sore and his knee swollen.

"He couldn't do anything yesterday and he's running out of time, but Marcus is improving and I'm hoping that he will be able to do something today.

"It's a hamstring, though, and if there's any doubt at all we won't be

taking a chance with him.

"We've got Richard Naylor, Martijn Reuser and the youngster (Bowditch), so it's not a dire emergency, although I'd have liked to have kept the team together after the win at Norwich."

Royle and his players are on a revenge mission to Molineux after Wolves' 4-2 win at Portman Road just 13 days ago extended the gap between the sides.

The Town boss added: "It's going to be like this all the way in now, with games against some of our play-off rivals.

"We've got Reading and Nottingham Forest to come here and we've got a game in hand on a couple of the teams above us, so we've got a chance to put ourselves right back in there.

"We've been playing catch up for a long time and we had a hiccup at home recently, but we can make up for it now.

"If we'd beaten Grimsby and then drawn at Norwich I don't suppose too many people would have complained. We still took four points from the two games."

Tomorrow's game marks the end of Hermann Hreidarsson's four-match suspension, while Saturday's visit from struggling Stoke will complete a similar ban for striker Pablo Counago.

Wolves will definitely be without nine-goal striker George Ndah for tomorrow's sell-out clash.

Ndah, on target in his side's recent win at Ipswich, has been ruled out indefinitely with a torn hamstring suffered in Saturday's 4-0 home defeat of Crystal Palace.

Dean Sturridge, who replaced him in that game and scored Wolves' second goal to take his season's tally to eight, is the most likely replacement to partner in-form striker Kenny Miller.

IPSWICH Town, now in their fourth week in administration, will receive a £600,000-plus cash bonus from the Britannia Building Society.

The money has been generated by the Britannia's Save and Support account, which is held by 10,800 fans and pays an annual bonus to the club.

A cheque for £612,587 will be officially presented before Saturday's home clash with Stoke and will bring to £2,024,463 the total since the account was launched in 1998.

It is a condition of the link-up that cash is directed towards Town's youth development programme.

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