Fuller to make debut after appeal win
RICARDO Fuller was today given the all-clear to join Ipswich on loan.And Town boss Joe Royle, who successfully argued the case for the Southampton striker to be granted a work permit, immediately named him in the starting line-up for Saturday's home clash with Leicester.
RICARDO Fuller was today given the all-clear to join Ipswich on loan.
And Town boss Joe Royle, who successfully argued the case for the Southampton striker to be granted a work permit, immediately named him in the starting line-up for Saturday's home clash with Leicester.
But the good news was tempered by the bombshell that midfielder Gavin Williams will not play again this season.
The £200,000 ex-West Ham player will undergo knee surgery next week and has been told his recovery will take at least three months.
Royle, accompanied by club secretary Sally Webb, was on his way back from a morning hearing in Sheffield when he received a telephone call to tell him Fuller had been given the thumbs-up.
He said: “It has turned out well and Ricardo will definitely play against Leicester.
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“The hearing was very sympathetic to our pleas that this was quite a unique case. They sat and listened, and they have given us the nod.”
The 26-year-old Jamaican international actually arrived at Portman Road six days ago with the intention of playing against Wolves last Saturday.
He made the trip to the Midlands but was forced to sit out Town's 1-0 defeat at Molineux after it was realised he would need a new work permit to make the temporary switch.
Ipswich wasted no time in launching their application and after today's verdict was received he was immediately summoned back to Suffolk.
Royle added: “Ricardo was bought twice by the same manager, Harry Redknapp, and was left almost high and dry by Harry's return to Portsmouth.
“He is joining us initially on a month's loan and it will be a huge relief to him. He wants to play and it doesn't look as if he's going to get a game down at Southampton.”
If Fuller impresses over the next few weeks he could be signed permanently, as Royle indicated in the Star yesterday.
But Royle's upbeat mood after being told of the hearing's verdict changed when he was informed of 25-year-old Williams' predicament.
He added: “It is really bad news for us and Gavin. He had an exploratory operation yesterday and the surgeon has decided it is best to do a repair.
“There is bone bruising and cartilage damage, and at this stage of the season we are not going to take any risks.
“It rules him out for the rest of the season, which wasn't what we wanted to hear, but at least Danny Haynes and Scott Barron have trained today and should be OK for the weekend.”
An ankle injury has kept 18-year-old Haynes out since he scored the winning goal in the East Anglian derby at Norwich and he could be back on Saturday to partner new boy Fuller.