English Barclays Premiership
John Scales is not the only ex-Spur returning to White Hart Lane on Saturday. Full-back Jamie Clapham, 24, made only one appearance for us before his move to Town but has quickly become a favourite at Portman Road with his attacking style down the left flank.
Manager George Burley, right, went with a 3-5-2 formation in Town’s final, high-profile, pre-season friendly against Italian giants Fiorentina and with that in mind expect Scales, Titus Bramble and Mark Venus to take the central defensive roles.
We know all about Scales, 33, who spent an injury-hit three-and-a-half years at the Lane before his summer switch to Suffolk. Bramble, 19, is tipped for greater things while Venus was at Wolves for 10 years before moving to Town. John McGreal and veteran Tony Mowbray also played their parts in Town’s promotion.
The wing-backs against Fiorentina were ex-Spur Clapham and Fabian Wilnis, who joined from Dutch outfit De Graafschap. Ex-Blackburn Rovers star Gary Croft could also feature.
Backing up the defence is arguably Town’s most-valuable asset — goalkeeper Richard Wright. The 22-year-old has been tracked by a number of Premiership clubs but opted to stay at Portman Road. He leapfrogged Ian Walker and David James to take England’s third goalkeeping spot at Euro2000.
Jim Magilton is the skipper and key man in midfield. The Northern Irish international, formerly with Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday in the top flight, reached cult status at Portman Road with a hat-trick against Bolton in last season’s play-off semi-final. Matt Holland’s displays won a Republic of Ireland call last season and he has barely missed a game since moving from Bournemouth in 1997. Jermaine Wright, 24, is likely to complete the three-man midfield.
Town boasted one of the First Division’s hottest strikeforces last season in David Johnson and Marcus Stewart. Johnson, signed for £1.1m from Crewe, bagged 23 goals while Stewart, snapped-up for £2.5m from Huddersfield, came good in the play-offs where he scored two in the semi-final and one at Wembley.
Back-up for those two comes via Richard Naylor, who also netted at Wembley, youngster James Scowcroft and Martijn Reuser. Reuser’s goals were vital late in the season and his loan spell from Vitesse Arnhem was made permanent for £1m this summer.
Town’s pre-season results: VPS Vaosa 2-0, FC Flora 2-0, FC Rigor 3-0 (tour of Latvia); Leyton Orient 2-2; Fiorentina 1-1.
Come back later for our team news and George Graham's Friday afternoon news conference.