Allen preparing Boatmen

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

He will make his reads at the line of scrimmage and attempt to move the chains as he does on any normal work week.

But veteran quarterback Damon Allen knows this week is far from normal.

With some of the Argos' starters expected to sit and some of the walking wounded unavailable, Allen is making use of every snap in practice to get ready for the post-season.

As much he would like to win Thursday's game against the visiting Montreal Alouettes in the season finale and exact some personal revenge, Allen is more concerned about the big picture.

For Allen and the Argos, that means Nov. 5 and the CFL's Eastern semi-final against the accursed Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The winner travels to Montreal for the Nov. 14 final.

"The whole premise of this week and of this game is for the playoffs," Allen said yesterday. "We're in a situation where there's one game to get ready for the playoffs and it's crucial for us to prepare.

"At the same time you have to understand that the game doesn't mean anything, either. The time that's best served for us is in practice because that's when we're getting the majority of our work. The main thing for us is to be in sync."

Allen is expected to make his second start in a row this Thursday at the SkyDome. Michael Bishop will get his share of reps as well and there's a chance third-stringer Romaro Miller will see some action.

The Als have been a thorn in Allen's side the past two years, having twice knocked him out. The most recent setback came this past August when Allen broke his left tibia and was forced to sit on the sidelines for eight weeks.

When he relieved Bishop two weeks ago in Calgary, Allen was very efficient. When he started last week against Hamilton, Allen managed the clock and the game plan after the Argos jumped out to a 28-0 lead.

"We all want to assess people," coach Pinball Clemons said. "For me, the assessment is that Damon Allen is physically healthy enough and sharp enough to give us a chance to win. And that's what really is important. He's been more proficient than anyone expected him to be."

Clemons isn't obligated to name his roster until tomorrow. He does admit, though, the focus for Thursday is to prepare for next Friday's showdown with Hamilton.

Kicker/punter Noel Prefontaine won't play against the Als after he suffered a hip pointer last week.

The veteran said yesterday he has a slight muscle tear in his right leg -- his plant foot.

The Argos will dress both Chris Hardy and Dan Giancola on Thursday. Giancola's specialty is placekicking but Hardy found the uprights when he filled in for Prefontaine in Toronto's 38-31 win over the Ticats.

"There's no way I'll miss the playoff game," said Prefontaine.

And there's no way the ageless Allen will leave anything to chance as he gets set for the team's post-season run.


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