Under-fire Ipswich manager Roy Keane has been left with no choice but to field a young side for tomorrow’s Carling Cup quarter-final with West Brom.
A dire run of eight losses in 12 games, the most recent a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of fierce rivals Norwich on Sunday, has seen Keane’s position come under scrutiny.
Keane is aware that his first cup quarter-final as a manager could be one of his most important fixtures to date and would ideally like to field a full-strength side against Roberto Di Matteo’s Barclays Premier League side.
But injuries, suspension and the loss of four loan signings mean that the former Manchester United captain will have to hope that his young guns can pull off a desperately needed win at Portman Road.
He said: “I’ll be going with a young team, once again.
“I haven’t been too pleased about that, over the last month or two, because we have been playing too many young players at the same time.
“But I don’t really have any choice for tomorrow night.”
Keane is without Republic of Ireland defender Damien Delaney, who was sent off at Carrow Road on Sunday, while right-back Gianni Zuiverloon is on loan from Albion and barred from facing his parent club.
Goalkeeper Marton Fulop is a doubt with an ankle injury, Connor Wickham has a thigh problem and loanees Rory Fallon, Jack Colback and Jake Livermore are all unavailable.
One player who could feature is Argentinian winger Luca Civelli, who has been out of action since injuring his knee against Burnley in March 2009.
Civelli was an unused substitute at the weekend but Keane could be tempted to throw him in against the Baggies.
He said: “It’s good to have Luca back in the group.
“We felt he needed something different from the reserves so he has been involved and he has a chance for tomorrow night.
“Ideally we would like to bring him in and then take him out again, ease him back in gently because of the injury. Give him a cameo role or two.
“But we can’t do that.
“Is he ready to start against West Brom? That’s a big question mark but we are without a lot of players so he has a chance of featuring.”