James Norwood and Kane Vincent-Young back in contention for Ipswich Town in 'season defining' trip to AFC Wimbledon
Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook has revealed both James Norwood and Kane Vincent-Young are back in contention to play a part in the Blues' crucial Sky Bet League One clash at AFC Wimbeldon's Plough Lane tomorrow evening (6.30pm).
Leading scorer Norwood, who has six league goals from 14 appearances, has missed the last two matches with a thigh issue. Meanwhile, full-back Vincent-Young went off with a hamstring injury on his first start in 17 months at Wigan at the end of last month.
And confirming both were among the 24 players training this morning, Cook admitted it was great to see midfielder Flynn Downes come through through 90 minutes on his return from a hamstring injury in Saturday's 0-0 home draw with MK Dons.
He said: "Flynn's a massive tick for the football club, isn't he?"
"I think for anyone who watches football and young players today I think Flynn Downes has got a very, very bright future in the game.
"He is a really good young man who conducts himself very, very well. He has got a desire to be better, to win games and be successful so as a manager he was great to see him complete the 90 minutes on Saturday.
"The other players you mentioned (Norwood and Vincent-Young) are back in the squad and going to Wimbledon tomorrow night in the hope we can keep our season going and that we can give our supporters the belief we can do it."
Town go into the match eighth in the table and three points off sixth-placed Lincoln City, who hold a game in hand, following successive goalless draws, at Rochdale and at home to MK Dons.
Cook feels The Wombles, who enjoyed their biggest win of the season on Saturday, 5-1 at Accrington Stanley to move out of the relegation zone, will be dangerous opponents.
But he accepts with only seven games left now that nothing less than a win will do for his side to maintain realistic hope of achieving a play-off place this term.
"We've just played Wigan, Rochdale and MK Dons, obviously MK Dons are a little higher in the league, but you've seen yourselves there is nothing in the games," he said.
"You would never know that we're one big club and someone else is in a relegation fight. The games are a little bit of a much of a muchness and a small margin in a game wins the game.
"Wimbledon have gone away from home and had a fantastic result on Saturday. That will absolutely buoy their lads to the top of their tiptoes because they will see us coming into town now as the scalp they want to take and they'll be bang up for the game, putting it up to us from the first minute.
"It is a massive game for us and will define our season in my eyes.
"We have to go there and win. We have to go there and create more chances, we have to be so much more braver in our play.
"Can we do that? Watch this space."
He was also pleased to see homegrown Tristan Nydam end a two-year injury-enforced absence in a Town shirt when he made his return from a broken ankle for the last 20 minutes of Saturday's 0-0 draw.
"Tristan has got great qualities; as a lad he has got a heart as big as a lion. He has got a great desire to win games and compete and that is something that in a lot of games I think we lack," he said.
Meanwhile, the club have confirmed Saturday's game at Charlton Athletic will kick off at the earlier time of 12.30pm in an EFL directive made to avoid a clash with the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The EFL has also released its play-off dates with 12 fixtures set to take place over seven days across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two.
Wednesday, May 19 and Thursday, May 20 (both 6pm) are the dates set for the first legs of the League One play-off semi-finals. As they come after May 17 they would be set to have reduced numbers of supporters allowed back into stadiums, subject to government approval.
The return legs will be on Friday, May 21 (7.45pm) and Saturday, May 22 (3pm).
The League One play-off final will be held on Sunday, May 30 (3pm).
Meanwhile, Town fans will find out the fixtures for the 2021/22 season on Thursday, June 24 at 9am.