Town bid to bridge 11-year gap

IPSWICH will go into tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round clash with Swansea looking to bridge an 11-year gap.Victory will take them into the competition's last 16 for the first time since George Burley's team were KO'd at that stage by Aston Villa in 1996.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH will go into tomorrow's FA Cup fourth round clash with Swansea looking to bridge an 11-year gap.

Victory will take them into the competition's last 16 for the first time since George Burley's team were KO'd at that stage by Aston Villa in 1996.

And if they do win, then secure a money-spinning tie against one of the Premiership big boys, it could significantly boost the amount of cash available to manager Jim Magilton in his quest to find a proven marksman before next Wednesday's transfer deadline.

Town boss Magilton admitted: “It is all about getting into the hat for the fifth round and it will be down to our attitude as much as anything else.

“Swansea will come here full of belief and confidence, and without fear.

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“They are on a good run and by all accounts deserved their 3-0 win at Sheffield United in the last round.

“From our point of view we have to build on our recent run but I will warn the players that if they don't apply themselves in the right way then they will get hurt.”

Ipswich's task is not helped by the fact that they will be without three defenders.

Skipper Jason De Vos is injured, while both Alex Bruce and David Wright are suspended, and Magilton has known all week how he plans to overcome their absence.

He said: “I won't name the team yet but there will be players coming in who haven't played a lot of games this season.

“Having to make changes is part and parcel of the game and it gives the players who come in an opportunity to stake a claim to stay in.

“I don't have a problem with bringing anyone in.

“They have all worked hard in training and shown me a hunger to get back into the side.”

Assistant manager Bryan Klug and coach Steve Foley attended Swansea's 2-0 defeat Gillingham on Tuesday to update Ipswich's file on their opponents.

Veteran star Fabian Wilnis is likely to plug the gap in the centre of the defence alongside Richard Naylor, with teenager Chris Casement in line to fill the right-back berth.

Magilton must also decide which of his young strikers, Danny Haynes or Billy Clarke, will partner top scorer Alan Lee in attack, while the search for that elusive fourth striker continues.

Swansea have yet to play at home in this season's FA Cup, winning 3-1 at both Newport County and Darlington in the first two rounds before seeing off Sheffield United at the third hurdle.

Boss Kenny Jackett is forced into changes.

Both Kevin Austin and Kristian O'Leary are suspended, while midfielder Ian Craney is cup-tied after playing for previous club Accrington Stanley in their first round Cup defeat at Mansfield.

Midfielder Tom Butler, who netted twice at Bramall Lane in the last round, is only rated as a 50-50 chance and faces a late fitness test on his hip injury.

But former West Ham United youngster Leon Britton, whose five goals this season include one in each previous round of the FA Cup, will be in his usual midfield place.

Transfer-seeking Izzy Iriekpen is a possible replacement for Austin, while skipper Darren Pratley is back in the squad after returning to action in the 2-0 midweek home win over Gillingham following an injury sustained in the New Year's Day victory over Brentford.

Ipswich have confirmed they have sold 14,800 tickets for the game, while Swansea have so far taken up more than half of their 4,362 allocation.

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