Town's keeper crisis

IPSWICH have registered 40-year-old goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes and he is likely be on the bench at Watford tomorrow.Town were forced into action after 17-year-old substitute keeper Shane Supple suffered a suspected broken toe in action for the reserves at Charlton on Wednesday.

IPSWICH have registered 40-year-old goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes and he is likely be on the bench at Watford tomorrow.

Town were forced into action after 17-year-old substitute keeper Shane Supple suffered a suspected broken toe in action for the reserves at Charlton on Wednesday.

Boss Joe Royle said: “We were hoping Shane would be OK but it looks like it's a break, so we have decided to get Andy registered.”

Lewis Price will continue to deputise for first choice Kelvin Davis, still ruled out with a back problem.

Rhodes, who took up his post in the summer, has not played a senior game in almost six years.

He was with non-league Wakefield & Emley when they were beaten 3-1 at Rotherham in an FA Cup first round replay in November 1998.

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His career started under Royle at Oldham and continued at Dunfermline, Airdrie, St Johnstone, Scarborough and Halifax before he dropped into the non-league scene.

Royle said: “Going without a keeper on the bench is one possibility, but we have also decided to register Andy.

“He played in a charity game for Oldham last year and knows what to do and where to be - but I wouldn't like to see him on the pitch at Watford for any length of time!”

Meanwhile, Royle has hit on a novel way of motivating his comeback stars.

Town travel to Watford tomorrow looking to extend their unbeaten Coca-Cola Championship run to seven games.

In five of their last six outings they have had to come from behind to either draw or win and get points that looked like eluding them.

Royle laughed: “I'll have to give them a rollicking before the game, rather than wait until half-time!”

Town's perseverance has paid off in each of their last three games, against Coventry, Burnley and Leicester, turning a draw into victory and then rescuing vital points with late levellers.

Royle has ordered his defence to be wary of the threat posed by the Hornets' strikers, Danny Webber and Heidar Helguson, who have netted 12 goals between them this season.

Ex-Manchester United striker Webber, 22, has hit the target nine times but is without a goal in his last five outings.

Royle said: “Helguson is outstanding in the air and Webber is quick and sharp, always looking to get on the end of the flicks and the knock-ons. I rate them both very highly.

“We have to make sure we are tighter and meaner defensively.”

Town are likely to field an unchanged side and tomorrow's clash will bring back happy memories for striker Shefki Kuqi, who made a scoring debut for the club in last season's corresponding fixture.

Ipswich boast a good record at Vicarage Road, losing just one of their last seven visits, and both teams go into tomorrow's game having drawn in each of their last two outings.

With academy graduate Richard Lee ever-present in goal, 40-year-old former Portman Road apprentice Alec Chamberlain will be on the bench for the 11th-placed Hornets.

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