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Ipswich Town: Defender Harry Clarke an injury concern ahead of Birmingham City clash at Portman Road





Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has given an update on the fitness of his squad ahead of their clash against Birmingham City on Saturday.

Defender Harry Clarke is an injury concern leading up to the 3pm kick-off at Portman Road with the Tractor Boys currently placed third in the Sky Bet Championship table.

McKenna said his players had come through their busy period of games well following their dramatic 4-3 win against Rotherham United on Tuesday.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has given an update on his squad before their game against Birmingham City at Portman Road this weekend. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has given an update on his squad before their game against Birmingham City at Portman Road this weekend. Picture: Barry Goodwin

“I think we’ve come through it pretty well. Injury-wise, Kieffer was okay with his knee, he managed to train today with the knock that he got on his knee,” he said.

“Jeremy had a scan but his hamstring was just tightness, there was no strain, so he trained a bit of the session today, so there’s a possibility he could be involved tomorrow.

“Harry had a pretty severe dead leg so he’s been very inhibited, so we’re going to have to leave that decision until tomorrow to see what his involvement might be in the game.

“I think apart from that, everyone’s come through it well. It’s been a busy run of games. I think that did show in certain bits of the game on Tuesday night, but that was also coming off of Wednesday-Saturday away from home on a really heavy pitch with lots of travel.

“We’ve got two home games in a row now, we have the extra day with the Tuesday-Saturday game and everyone today seemed in a pretty good place and I’m sure by three o’clock tomorrow with a packed out Portman Road, I’m sure the energy levels will be really good.”

The Blues boss added that winger Wes Burns was fine despite landing on his shoulder against Rotherham, an issue he suffered with earlier in the season.

Midfielder Jack Taylor remains on the sidelines having been ill as well as having had a quad issue.

Town had hoped that Brandon Williams, who returned to Manchester United for assessment just after Christmas, would be back at the club a week or so ago, but the full-back is still with his parent club.

“We were hoping that that would be the timescale, but he’s had a setback in his recovery, so he’s still at United, he’s not training yet,” McKenna said.

“He’s their player so we’re not sure how long the setback is going to take, but he’s not even on the grass with them yet, so it’s still a little while away.”

McKenna said the club send their best wishes to Blues legend Tony Mowbray, who will be absent when his Birmingham City side visit Portman Road tomorrow as he takes a number of weeks away to undergo medical treatment.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that Mowbray is set to spend around six-to-eight weeks away from Birmingham for an unspecified medical issue.

The 60-year-old took over as boss at St Andrew’s at the start of January following the departure of Wayne Rooney with his fellow former Town defender Mark Venus assisting him.

Venus will be taking charge of the Midlanders at Portman Road and for the other games while the man known as Mogga is away.

Birmingham currently sit 15th in the table and have won three of their last five league games.

“I think, first and foremost, everyone's absolute best wishes go to Tony,” McKenna said. “Everyone involved with Ipswich Town holds him in such high regard and people here speak so highly of him.

“I've had the pleasure of meeting him a few times through football and he's a true gentleman, so it's a shame that he can't be here tomorrow.

“I'm sure he would have enjoyed bringing his Birmingham team to Portman Road, but we wish him all the best for the recovery.

“He and Mark have had a good impact. I think it's a really good profile of a squad for them.

“I think they've already shown that they're able to implement their ideas and the mentality that they want to put into that team, and they've had a good impact and a couple of good wins and some really good performances as well.

“Even in the FA Cup against Leicester it was an excellent performance in the first half (before ultimately losing 3-0). So, they've already made a good impact and we know we're in for a tough game.”

Town fans are set to pay tribute to Mowbray, a former captain and coach, who scored in the 2000 Wembley play-off final, in the fifth minute of tomorrow's match.

The defender wore the number five shirt during his time at Portman Road.