Big test for Town duo

TRIALISTS Edwin Ouon and Rui Marques could both start for Ipswich Town in tonight's glamour friendly against Scottish champs Rangers.Town boss Joe Royle was impressed with the pair in training and has promised them a taste of the action at Portman Road tonight.

TRIALISTS Edwin Ouon and Rui Marques could both start for Ipswich Town in tonight's glamour friendly against Scottish champs Rangers.

Town boss Joe Royle was impressed with the pair in training and has promised them a taste of the action at Portman Road tonight.

Royle only welcomed the out-of-contract duo to the club yesterday morning but said: “Both of them will get at least half a game.

“Ouon is the more likely to start but I still haven't completely made up my mind about the team. They could both start.


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“A lot will depend on Fabian (Wilnis) and how fit he is. He had a clash in training yesterday and ended up sore and with a big ice pack on his knee.”

Royle was delighted with his first glimpse of the new boys, who are available on Bosman free transfers and desperate to earn themselves full-time deals.

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He added: “We only had a short training session yesterday, because of tonight's game, but they both did very well.

“They both showed good defensive instincts and it was obvious they have played at a decent level.

“Ouon can play anywhere across the back four, while Marques is more of a central defender who has also played at full-back.

“Their versatility could be very important to us, both from the personnel point of view and also with an eye on different team systems.”

Despite favourable first impressions, however, the pair still have to convince

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Royle they are what he is looking for as he seeks to bolster his defensive options.

French star Ouon, 24,has played in Italy with Cagliari and was more recently with Belgian outfit Royal Antwerp for three years.

Angolan international Marques, 27, started with Benfica, then had spells in Germany with leading clubs Hertha Berlin and Stuttgart, before returning to the Portuguese SuperLiga with Maritimo last season.

But Royle was quick to mention FA Youth Cup-winning defender Aidan Collins as a first team contender in the forthcoming campaign.

He said: “Aidan is doing well but still has something to prove. He must look to put a good run together when he gets his chance, which he will.”

The on-trial duo replace injured midfielder Jimmy Juan and teenage full-back Sammy Moore in tonight's 18-man squad.

Royle added: “There will be a cracking atmosphere tonight for a game that is much, much bigger than our previous two friendlies, and we want to do well.

“Rangers are a bit more advanced with their preparations and I will be looking for more of our players to get a full 90 minutes under their belts.”

For a large number of Ipswich fans, tonight's game will be their first opportunity to view wing ace Dean McDonald in action.

The former Arsenal youngster has signed a one-year deal after impressing last season, first on trial and then after he had been kept on until the end of the campaign.

Coincidentally, McDonald was on trial with Rangers last year but, despite finding the net in a 5-1 reserve win over Hibs, his ten-day stint failed to convince Ibrox boss Alex McLeish.

This will be the third of Ipswich's seven warm-up games and follows 3-0 and 5-2 wins at Cambridge United and Boston United respectively.

The senior squad depart for Hungary, and a two-game tour, on Thursday, then Atletico Madrid are the visitors to Portman Road on Friday week and Town conclude their preparations with a visit to Colchester on August 2.

Rangers' season will be up and running by then, with the first round of Scottish Premier League fixtures taking place on July 30.

They are set to welcome back long-serving German goalkeeper Stefan Klos ahead of schedule after six months out with a cruciate ligament injury.

But boss Alex McLeish will be without strike pair Dad Prso and Steven Thompson, who are both nursing minor knocks.

Argentinian ace Federico Nieto, who made his debut in Saturday's 2-0 win over Linfield, is likely to have another run-out this evening.

The 21-year-old has been signed on a six-month loan deal but there is a five-year deal on offer if Rangers like what they see.

TONIGHT'S SQUADS

IPSWICH: Price, Supple, Wilnis, De Vos, Naylor, Collins, Richards, Ouon, Rui Marques, Magilton, Horlock, Westlake, Currie, Garvan, McDonald, Bowditch, Forster and Parkin.

RANGERS: Klos, Waterreus, Ricksen, Fanfan, Malcolm, McLean, Khizanishvili, Murray, Smith, Burke, McCormack, Ferguson, Rae, Fetai, Hemdani, Lovenkrands, Nieto, Navo and Buffel.

Referee: Gary Lewis (Cambridgeshire).

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