Bart's Town future in his hands

THE ball is firmly in Chris Bart-Williams' court as he contemplates his football future.His decision is straightforward – does he rejoin Charlton or throw in his lot with promotion-chasing Ipswich?All that remains for the deal to be completed is a firm 'yes' from a player who has impressed during a three-month loan stint that ends on Friday.

THE ball is firmly in Chris Bart-Williams' court as he contemplates his football future.

His decision is straightforward – does he rejoin Charlton or throw in his lot with promotion-chasing Ipswich?

All that remains for the deal to be completed is a firm 'yes' from a player who has impressed during a three-month loan stint that ends on Friday.

Town boss Joe Royle confirmed today: "We're very close, but it will be up to Chris to make up his mind.

"I am hopeful that we can find an agreement for him to stay with us at least until the end of the season, but I have learned not to get too carried away in this type of situation."

Royle explained that Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks and his Charlton counterpart, Martin Simons, have reached agreement.

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"They have agreed the framework of a deal," he said, "and all that remains is for Chris to give us an answer.

"He trained with us yesterday, we're having a day off today and he will be back with us tomorrow."

There had been rumours that a deal for the 29-year-old midfielder would be related to bonus payments possibly due to Town from Charlton at the end of the season.

Their cut-price purchases of Hermann Hreidarsson and Matt Holland included clauses that Town would pocket a total of £250,000 if the Addicks maintained their Premiership status.

But Royle dispelled the rumours when he stated: "We're talking about a straight deal that stands alone."

All being well, Bart-Williams will report for duty tomorrow intending to commit himself to Ipswich for at least the remainder of the season.

Any offer is almost certain to contain a bumper cash reward if the player - two goals in 16 appearances on loan - can help Town return to the Premiership.

Royle added: "We have had a good run with Chris in the side and we want it to continue.

"He has played a big part, not only with his own contributions but in the way he has helped other players to find their best form."

Meanwhile, injured defensive pair Fabian Wilnis and Richard Naylor will return to training tomorrow with the intention of facing Millwall on Saturday.

Both players have hamstring problems and while Wilnis reluctantly surrendered his 100 per cent appearance record by sitting out the win over Derby, team-mate Naylor was forced to retire early.

Royle said: "Fabian should be okay. His injury is not too much of a problem, but while I am hopeful both players will be fit it's Richard who is the biggest doubt."

While Drissa Diallo's progress suggests he will be available for the busy festive period, long-term injury victim Chris Makin may require a minor operation to put him on the road to recovery.

Makin has not appeared in the first team since August and Royle added: "There appears to be nerve damage, possibly a trapped nerve, and if treatment and manipulation don't solve the problem the next course of action will be exploratory surgery."

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