Wright up for cup

MARK Wright can't hear Gary Roberts' name being mentioned without thinking about what might have been.The Chester boss will have his first close-up view of Ipswich's new £220,000 winger in the FA Cup third round clash tomorrow.

By Mel Henderson

MARK Wright can't hear Gary Roberts' name being mentioned without thinking about what might have been.

The Chester boss will have his first close-up view of Ipswich's new £220,000 winger in the FA Cup third round clash tomorrow.

But had things turned out differently the 22-year-old might have been turning out for the League Two outfit AGAINST Town.

Wright revealed: “I know a lot about the boy and I wish him all the best. He was actually here before I came back as manager but my predecessor, Keith Curle, didn't sign him.

“From what I've seen he has done really well for Ipswich. He looks a real asset and they must be delighted with him.”

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Wright will be attempting to ensure Roberts is at his least effective tomorrow as Chester intend to make the most of their FA Cup let-off.

Beaten 3-1 in a second round replay by Bury, they were reinstated after it was discovered that their League Two rivals had fielded an ineligible player.

Wright said: “The FA contacted us and told us the situation. Rules are rules, but it is impossible not to feel for Bury after everything that has gone on.

“From our point of view, however, this is a big, big game. I'll be telling the players to keep focused on Ipswich but as a club we're thinking what might be round the corner if we win this one.

“For a club of our size, if we were to get Liverpool or Manchester United, for example, the money we made from that one game would pay for our entire season.

“That gives us every incentive to go for it against Ipswich. In the FA Cup anything can happen - look at Sutton beating Coventry - and Jim Magilton will know that.”

Although they were both with the same clubs - Liverpool, Oxford and Southampton - as players, Wright and his Town counterpart do not know each other.

The Chester boss added: “I'm looking forward to meeting him. Jim was a midfield ball-player and it's no surprise to me that he has Ipswich playing football.

“We know we can't win the FA Cup, but if we can spoil Ipswich's day we will do just that. We've got a chance. In this competition everyone's got a chance.

“It's just a pity that we're suffering with a few injuries. We don't have a massive squad and on a level playing field we'd have a better chance.

“I believe some of our lads have a chance of playing at a higher level, while for others this might be as big a game as they ever play in.

“For a club of our size to be taking on a Championship club like Ipswich, who are steeped in history, is a big occasion and we want to enjoy it.”

Wright, who insists his own team play a passing game, admits he is encouraged by the local weather forecast.

He said: “It has been blustery up here this week and we hear it could be wet and windy on the day. We have a good playing surface but in conditions like that Ipswich might not be able to get their game going.

“Who knows what will happen? We've been given a lifeline and it would be great for us if we could make the most of it and be in the pot for the next round.”

Wright, who was Liverpool captain and collected the FA Cup at Wembley after his side's win over Sunderland in 1992, has been relying on video evidence to help plot Ipswich's downfall.

But he is not helped by the fact that key defender Ashley Westwood, who scored the winning goal at Notts County on New Year's Day, is struggling with a hamstring injury.

The former Manchester United trainee picked up a knock in the game against MK Dons last Saturday that required him to be substituted and he aggravated it at Meadow Lane just 48 hours later.

Striker Lee Steele, on loan from Leyton Orient since October, will definitely play and is close to completing a permanent deal that will take him closer to his home on Merseyside.


CHESTER: Danby, Bolland, Westwood, Artell, Marples, Hand, Hessey, Martinez, Wilson, Blundell, Walters, Bennett, Steele, Sandwith, Linwood and Palethorpe.

IPSWICH: Price, Bruce, Naylor, De Vos, Harding, Roberts, Garvan, Legwinski, Richards, Williams, Lee, Clarke, Casement, Peters, Brittain, Haynes and Supple.

Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire).

What do you think of the signing of Gary Roberts? Write to Sports Desk, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk