Town won't gamble on Clarke

BILLY Clarke will only play against Derby tomorrow if he is “100 per cent fit” according to Ipswich boss Jim Magilton.Clarke, 18, trained yesterday but was still feeling pain from his knee injury and Magilton has no intention of risking him unless he can prove his fitness in time to travel to the East Midlands.

By Mel Henderson

BILLY Clarke will only play against Derby tomorrow if he is “100 per cent fit” according to Ipswich boss Jim Magilton.

Clarke, 18, trained yesterday but was still feeling pain from his knee injury and Magilton has no intention of risking him unless he can prove his fitness in time to travel to the East Midlands.

Magilton said: “We would love Billy to be fit but the truth is that we have to be careful with him.


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“He is a young lad still coming to terms with playing at this level and we won't be taking any chances.

“We pushed him very hard in the hope that he could play at Barnsley on Saturday. He trained Friday but didn't make it and he's still a bit tender right now.”

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Magilton has no alternative but to again make changes for the clash with a Derby side who have rocketed up the Championship and have won their last five games.

Town's French midfielder Sylvain Legwinski misses out through suspension and on-loan defender Matthew Bates has returned to Middlesbrough after his medial ligament injury at Oakwell three days ago.

Fabian Wilnis has a tight hamstring so both he and Clarke will have fitness tests before the squad departs from Portman Road.

Legwinski's absence will give Irish teenager Owen Garvan his first start of the season and Gavin Williams will have 45 minutes at Needham Market tonight.

If Williams comes through the Suffolk Premier Cup tie he will join his colleagues in the squad to face the in-form Rams. Magilton said: “We would love to be going to Derby with the team that finished the win over Norwich but that's football.

“There are ups and downs and you just have to take the blows on the chin. When players are out it gives other players an opportunity and they are telling me how keen they are to get in the team.

“I will be looking for a reaction from the players. I expect them to be hurt after they lost a game on Saturday that we shouldn't have lost.

“We have learned harsh lessons from Barnsley and Burnley when the same thing happened and we conceded the only goal right at the death.

“We need to eradicate these games from our memory and we can do that by doing well at Derby.

“But they are a very strong side, scoring goals and well balanced. But we seem to like being underdogs and it would be great if the lads could rise to the occasion.”

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