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Roy's new boy Murphy suffers cruel blow

FORMER Bohemians keeper Brian Murphy has suffered a cruel injury blow even before his career at Ipswich Town started.

Murphy joined Ipswich from Bohs last month but was only eligible to play for the Tractor Boys for the first time in yesterday's Championship game with Leicester City.

The Waterford man was on the bench for the 1-1 draw but would have been unable to play if called upon after he suffered ankle ligament damage in the warm-up.

"Brian was on the bench but he couldn't possibly have played and the ankle is pretty sore at the moment," said Town boss Roy Keane.

"It's possible that it's ankle ligaments and if that is the case, he could be out for a number of weeks.

"We've not had much luck with 'keepers this season. Shane Supple retired, Asmir Begovic went back to Portsmouth, then Wrighty [Richard Wright] got injured and now Brian.

"I've had ankle ligament injuries myself and they can take time to heal so we will have to see what the scans show and take it from there."

The Walkers Stadium succeeded where Upton Park and Anfield failed by producing a playable surface and surroundings that allowed Leicester to take on Ipswich.

Game on, albeit game not very good. Neither manager was happy with a draw that saw the sides stay put in the Championship table.

"I don't think it was a classic and we can certainly do a lot better in terms of possession," Keane said. "There's an element of disappointment and I suppose that's progress in itself because Leicester are having a good season."

Ipswich are 20th, have drawn 13 of their 24 league fixtures and are four points above the relegation zone, but since they have lost only one of their past 14 matches in all competitions, talk of a late charge for the play-offs is not quite as insane as it might appear. "Sixth place could be available to eight, nine, 10 teams," Keane said. "You've got to be a dreamer and I'm a dreamer."

City boss Nigel Pearson must have cursed the efficiency of his ground-staff when Ipswich took the lead after 20 seconds. Ryan McGivern turned Jack Colback's cross into his own net under pressure from David Norris.

At the other end, Ipswich keeper Arran Lee-Barrett ensured that Murphy's absence did not matter by making fine saves from Gareth McAuley in the first half and Matty Fryatt in the second.

Grant Leadbitter cleared Steve Howard's header off the line via the underside of the bar after 29 minutes, but the Leicester striker equalised seven minutes later, blocking Damien Delaney's attempted clearance and bursting clear to slide the ball low into the corner.

The contest was even after that, but the second half was workmanlike and short on goalmouth incident. It was still a remarkable afternoon, though: no outfield players wore gloves. The Big Freeze? Beaten.