McAuley - Don't judge me on Foxes' woes

IPSWICH Town's new £1.1million signing Gareth McAuley today told Blues fans not to judge him on Leicester City's relegation from the Coca-Cola Championship last season.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's new £1.1million signing Gareth McAuley today told Blues fans not to judge him on Leicester City's relegation from the Coca-Cola Championship last season.

The 28-year-old Northern Ireland international defender will be completing his move to Portman Road today - bringing a successful conclusion to Town manager Jim Magilton's long pursuit of the former Lincoln player.

McAuley is expected to sign a three-year deal making him the second defensive signing this week after Dutch youngster Pim Balkestein.

While Town have landed their main defensive target they missed out on Burnley striker Kyle Lafferty, who they made a cash-plus player bid this week. The 20-year-old is set to move to Glasgow Rangers.

Although McAuley was a regular in the relegated Leicester side he can point to failings at the other end of the park as to why the Walkers Stadium-based side will be playing in League One next season.

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Leicester conceded just 45 goals, but scored only a paltry 42.

Only Ipswich (14) conceded less goals at home than Leicester (19) while only Crystal Palace (19) and Wolves (23) let in less than the Foxes (26) on their travels.

“Our defensive record at Leicester last season speaks for itself,” said McAuley, who underwent a medical yesterday and wants to continue to forward his career with the Blues at club and international level.

He is the first big name to leave the Walkers Stadium since relegation and he is set to play a big part in Magilton's push to the Premier League in 2008/09 - and possible take over from the departed Jason De Vos as captain.

Magilton made two bids for McAuley in the January transfer window and made no secret of his intention to continue to pursue his fellow countryman in the close season.

McAuley, 6ft 3in tall, joined Leicester on a free transfer from Lincoln in the summer of 2006 after his contract at Sincil Bank came to an end.

He has been capped ten times by Northern Ireland, and signed an extended contract at Leicester in February that took him to the summer of 2011.

The Midlands club would not confirm whether there was an 'escape' clause if Leicester were relegated.

Burnley chairman Barry Kilby has confirmed Ipswich bid for Northern Irish international striker Lafferty, whose Rangers deal sees the Clarets receive £3 million plus midfielder Alan Gow.

Kilby said: “We received three cash-plus-player offers from other clubs - Ipswich came in late - but all considerably below the Rangers one.

“We have received a good price when you are buying potential rather than the finished article.”

Alan Lee was the likely player offered in the Lafferty bid by Town - the 29-year-old was sought by Burnley in the January transfer window and has previously played for the Turf Moor-based club.

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