Wait and see for Hull

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle faces another wait-and-see delay before he can name his side to face Hull on Saturday.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle faces another wait-and-see delay before he can name his side to face Hull on Saturday.

It is nothing new for Royle to have several injury problems to contend with and he laughed: “I'd love to be able, one of these weeks, to say on a Monday 'Everybody's fine - same again'.

“But that's a rare luxury in the game, to be fair, and it's certainly not something I have been able to do this season with so many players injured.”

While central defender Richard Naylor is a definite non-starter as he completes a two-game ban, there are question marks against the fitness of Scott Barron, Owen Garvan, Jimmy Juan and Danny Haynes.

Barron was hoping to train today after suffering a reaction to his hamstring problem after last week's 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace, while it is hoped that a couple of days' rest will help Garvan to overcome a knee injury.

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Haynes, who took a hefty kick on the ankle in Monday's 1-0 home reserve defeat by Chelsea, is described as a minor casualty by Royle, while the Town boss rates groin victim Juan's chances at no better than 50-50 and the Frenchman looks like missing out.

Loan striker Ricardo Fuller has returned to Southampton but, on the plus side, Ian Westlake will be available after missing the trip to South London with a dead leg sustained in the 3-1 midweek defeat at Preston.

If required, Jay McEveley could be pressed into action after playing a full 90 minutes for the reserves three days ago, although that remains a long shot.

Royle turned his attention to Saturday's visitors to Portman Road when he added: “Hull have had a good season after only winning promotion last year.

“It amazed me when we went up there in December that some people were having a go at manager Peter Taylor, who has done such a fine job for the club.

“They have a great team ethic, they have had their moments this season and I would expect them to make a bigger push next season.

“They brought in Jon Parkin and he has scored a few goals and in Nicky Barmby they have a player I know extremely well.”

Royle was in charge of Everton when he spent £5 million to sign Barmby from Middlesbrough in October 1996.

He said: “Nicky is a very talented player with a sharp football brain. I remember Terry Venables raving about him when he first got into the Spurs team and he's a similar type to Teddy Sheringham.

“I've a lot of time for Nicky. He plays with a smile on his face.”

Barmby, capped 23 times by England, also belongs to an elite group of players to have turned out for both Everton and Liverpool, while his various moves have seen clubs fork out a total of £20 million for his services.

He also played for Leeds, making it five Premiership clubs, and the move to home-town club Hull saw his career turn full circle.

Now 32, he has been absent since January with a hamstring problem and hopes that an injection would enable him to play against Crewe last week were ultimately dashed.

Barmby remains a doubt for Saturday as Hull have vowed not to rush him back for fear of another breakdown ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile Gerard Nash has not been offered a new contract by Town and Billy Clarke has gone on loan to Colchester United for a month.

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