Burley's SOS for striker
IPSWICH'S search for a striker will once again lead to the continent.Boss George Burley admitted today he is weighing up a possible loan swoop for an experienced forward to boost Town's desperate bid to beat the drop.
By Mel Henderson
IPSWICH'S search for a striker will once again lead to the continent.
Boss George Burley admitted today he is weighing up a possible loan swoop for an experienced forward to boost Town's desperate bid to beat the drop.
Since Town cannot borrow players from any of their Premiership rivals, and there are unlikely to be any candidates of the required standard in the Nationwide League, they are poised to add to their foreign legion.
Yesterday's home defeat by newly-promoted Bolton plunged Ipswich deeper into crisis and their current run of 11 games without a league win is their worst since Burley took charge almost seven years ago.
Remarkably, Town's present form is even worse than at the same stage of the 1994-95 horror campaign that saw them relegated from the Premiership.
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They won just seven of their 42 league games that year, fewer than in any other season since the club turned professional in 1936.
John Lyall's team collected ten points from their first 13 games, three more than the current side. They managed three wins in that sequence, against QPR, Manchester United and Leeds, while today's team have won just once, at home to Derby.
Lyall quit after 17 games, when Ipswich only had 11 points and it was widely acknowledged that Burley arrived too late to perform the required miracle.
Town are also reeling from an injury crisis that is forcing Burley to scan the foreign market in a bid to beef up his attack.
Already without fractured cheekbone victim Finidi George and Alun Armstrong, who has struggled after a bout of food poisoning, they were stunned by a training ground injury to top scorer Marcus Stewart on Saturday.
The ex-Huddersfield star had his jaw broken in two places by an accidental clash with Spanish import Pablo Counago and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.
Stewart was joined in hospital yesterday by new signing Ulrich Le Pen, who lasted just 12 minutes into his debut against Bolton.
A 79th minute substitute, the £1.5 million French left-winger from Lorient, suffered a nasty gash in the first minute of stoppage time that is likely to keep him out of action for a month.