Eagles keep eye on Bamm Bamm
CRYSTAL Palace have targeted Ipswich star Richard Naylor in their search for a striker.The ambitious Londoners are seeking extra firepower in their bid to win a Premiership place and boss Steve Bruce is a confirmed admirer of the tenacious Yorkshireman.
By Mel Henderson
CRYSTAL Palace have targeted Ipswich star Richard Naylor in their search for a striker.
The ambitious Londoners are seeking extra firepower in their bid to win a Premiership place and boss Steve Bruce is a confirmed admirer of the tenacious Yorkshireman.
Bruce was ready to pay £1 million for Middlesbrough's Andy Campbell in the summer, but the former England Under-21 cap failed a Selhurst Park medical.
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Campbell underwent an ankle operation six weeks ago and is hoping the transfer can be resurrected once he proves his fitness.
But Eagles chief Bruce, while agreeing the Campbell deal is still not completely dead, has also been alerted to Naylor's possible availability.
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Palace pair Dougie Freedman and Clinton Morrison have a combined goal tally of 18 this season, but Bruce is adamant that he wants to sign a third striker.
A London source said: "Bruce knows Naylor and rates him. He is also aware of the player's situation, where he is not a regular choice at Portman Road and may be keen to move on."
Naylor was an unused substitute in Town's defeat at Sunderland, but he started and scored in the home win over Derby and retained his place for the visit of Charlton.
The 24-year-old has managed a further three substitute appearances and, in common with several other fringe players, is frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities.
Palace, currently fifth in the First Division, are aiming to secure a Premiership place and multi-millionaire chairman Simon Jordan is committed to funding Bruce's team-building plans.
Naylor, a goalscoring hero in Town's play-off final victory at Wembley 17 months ago, has stormed back after his career looked in doubt last season.
Plagued by knee trouble for most of his career, he needed two operations in the summer of 2000 and owes his recovery to a specially devised exercise regime.
Naylor has started 62 games for the club, appeared as a substitute in a further 74, and netted 23 goals. He is in the squad for tonight's Worthington Cup third round tie at Crewe, when boss George Burley plans to rest some of his international stars.
Jim Magilton, Matt Holland, Hermann Hreidarsson and Finidi George were all in action at the weekend and Burley said: "It's a busy time for us right now and the workload for the international players is particularly heavy.
"I will see how they are after training, then I will decide my team. Everyone wants to play, but I have to do what's best for the club.."
On-loan Argentinian Sixto Peralta and Tommy Miller are uppermost in Burley's mind as he looks to give some fringe men a run, while Martijn Reuser's recovery from a thigh injury makes him an almost certain starter.
Burley plans to fly to Sweden tomorrow to watch UEFA Cup opponents Helsingborgs in action.
CREWE: Bankole, Foster, Smith, Walton, Sodje, Lunt, Charnock, Sorvel, Brammer, Jack, Hulse, Ince, Ashton, D Wright, Edwards, Macauley, Street, Collins, Little, Tait.
IPSWICH: Sereni, Wilnis, Clapham, McGreal, Venus, J Wright, Miller, Reuser, Peralta, Stewart, Counago, Holland, Branagan, Gaardsoe, Naylor, Hreidarsson, Makin, Magilton, Armstrong, George, Marshall.
REFEREE: Mr A Hall (Birmingham).