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Janoi Donacien back in training for Ipswich Town ahead of trip to Middlesbrough with Brandon Williams and Massimo Luongo set to serve suspensions

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna has confirmed full-back Janoi Donacien is back in training while he has no new injury issues ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship fixture up at mid-table Middlesbrough (3pm).

The second-placed Blues do go into the clash with Michael Carrick’s mid-table Boro side without one of their wide defenders though with Brandon Williams set to serve a fifth booking suspension, reached in the cut-off game in last Saturday’s 2-1 home victory against Coventry City, along with central midfielder Massimo Luongo.

Lee Evans, who underwent knee surgery in October, is the only player on the Suffolk side’s injury list now with Saint Lucia international Donacien working his way back from a groin issue.

Janoi Donacien is back available for Ipswich Town after resuming training following a groin problem Picture: Ady Kerry
Janoi Donacien is back available for Ipswich Town after resuming training following a groin problem Picture: Ady Kerry

Asked at his pre-match press conference about whether there would be any absentees this weekend, Mckenna replied: “No, just the two suspensions and, of course, Lee Evans.

“Janoi’s trained a couple of days this week, we’ll have to make a judgment call whether he’s going to be ready to be back in the squad or not. But if not, he should be available to for some of the games next week.”

On Williams and Luongo being suspended, he said it is a chance to make use of his squad.

“We have a squad for that reason and to get the yellows on the last day before the last game before the break is a bit frustrating, maybe more so on Massimo’s situation on a personal level because I know he would have loved to have played in this game against his former employers,” he said.

“But that’s just the way it goes. The big games are coming thick and fast. Our full emphasis is on this for those that are available, but on the other hand we play Watford away three days later, equally a very difficult game.

“It gives us a chance and a cause to utilise the squad and if we manage to stay injury free, it’ll give us two fresh players for Tuesday night.”

While Town travel a point behind Championship leaders Leicester City with back-to-back home wins under their belt, Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough lie 12th with two defeats in their last three games. The 4-0 home win over Preston North End on Tuesday, November 28, their last outing at The Riverside Stadium, coming after a 3-2 defeat at Bristol City, but before last Saturday’s 3-2 loss at third-placed Leeds United. In that game Boro had Anfernee Dijksteel sent off for a second bookable offence in the 63rd minute.

And while McKenna knows Carrick well from their time together at Tottenham and then Manchester United, where they became good friends, he is not placing any special emphasis on their first meeting as managers.

“It’s not something I’ve thought about loads to be honest,” he said.

“Of course the opposition manager is a good friend and someone I hold in the highest regard.

“But other than that I haven’t thought what it would be like to face up against him because at the end of the day it’s Ipswich’s players against Middlesbrough’s players on the pitch and the full focus and respect has gone into preparing for a really good opponent.

“I think it's two teams that share a lot of the same principles and ethos and two teams that will look to go and attack the game and I think it makes for a really good interesting and exciting game.

“My focus and our focus has been on preparing as well as we can to face a strong team away from home and apart from that there’s not really anything else that comes into it.”

Town will be looking to get their away form back on track, having lost 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion the Saturday before last.