Attention turns to loan defender

IPSWICH manager Joe Royle confirmed today that he still has scope to bring in one loan player.The Town boss revealed that his priority had switched to finding a young central defender who will put pressure on Jason De Vos and Richard Naylor.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH manager Joe Royle confirmed today that he still has scope to bring in one loan player.

The Town boss revealed that his priority had switched to finding a young central defender who will put pressure on Jason De Vos and Richard Naylor.

Striker Alan Lee has completed his move from Cardiff City for £100,000, and with last week's capture of Gavin Williams from West Ham, Royle has spent £400,000 of the money allocated to him in the transfer window.

“The budget allows one more loan signing,” said Royle. “Priorities change in football and we now have Alan to add weight up front.

“We have two good goalkeepers and a list of good midfielder players. Scott Barron has impressed at left back in the last two matches and I have put on hold looking at three players who were due to come in on trial.

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“Scott will come into my thoughts for this Saturday's game against Sheffield United at Portman Road, and with Sito Castro fit again, my side does not pick itself these days.

“Lewis Price was disappointed at being left out against Portsmouth last weekend, and I would have been disappointed if he had not been.

“It was a tough decision, but Shane Supple had done nothing wrong and I went by the American adage of if it is not broken then don't change it.

“We will have another big goalkeeping decision to make this Saturday.”

Lee is a big friend of former Town player Gary Croft from their days together at Cardiff, and Croft gave his thumbs up for Lee to make the move to Suffolk.

The 27-year-old striker will make his debut against the Blades and Dean Bowditch could push Danny Haynes and Dean McDonald to be his strike partner.

Bowditch trained yesterday after injury, but there is not such good news on Nicky Forster. He has suffered a further reaction following a knee cartilage operation last August and is to have a scan.

Looking ahead to Saturday's match, Royle said: “Sheffield United are rightfully in second place in the Championship.

“They will be a very hard nut to crack, and our fans can play their part. They always rise to the occasion against Neil Warnock's side - and I am banking on that again this weekend.

“There has been a big improvement in our squad since the start of the season. I can see the progress we are making and now we want to give evidence of that on the pitch.

“But with injuries still to contend with up front - despite Alan's signing - we know we have plenty of work to do.”

After passing a medical Lee said: “I am not a 25-goal a season predator. But I will put myself about and get around the pitch.

“I am an old fashioned type centre forward, and one of the aspects I hope to bring to the team is to cause trouble for opposing defenders.

“Every game I will give my all, and if I can help others score - as well as myself - I will be doing my job.”

Lee will wear the number 32 shirt that was vacated by Shefki Kuqi at the end of last season.

There is a proviso in his Town contract that it can be extended by a further year - and for the fee to rise by £50,000 if certain contingencies are met.

Lee was denied a late equalising goal by a Lewis Price save when he came on as a late substitute for Cardiff in the opening game of this season at Portman Road.

Ipswich won 1-0, and Lee said: “I was cursing Lewis at the time, but now I think it was a wonderful save!”

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