Will going back to the future work?

FRANK Sinatra had many talents, but football was not one of them.

Elvin King

FRANK Sinatra had many talents, but football was not one of them.

But if the late American superstar had shown as much ability with his feet as his larynx, Ipswich Town would have been his ideal club.

The crooner, who was famous for his many comebacks, would have been at home in the ranks at Portman Road.

Blues boss Jim Magilton has gone back to the future in a bid for success. He now has four players in his squad who have moved away and then been drawn back.

And the fondness for a return goes back to the days when Town were mixing it with the best in the land.

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Ray Crawford, the first Ipswich player to win an England cap, left to join Wolves and West Brom after helping Alf Ramsey's side win the 1961/62 First Division title.

He returned to help the Blues gain promotion back to the top flight under Bill McGarry.

John Wark was an integral member of Bobby Robson's 1978 FA Cup and 1981 UEFA Cup-winning sides - and he made two returns after moving away to play for Liverpool and then Middlesbrough.

Charlie Woods played for Ipswich and then became a coach for the club under a succession of managers. He spent time with Tottenham and Newcastle, and is now back at Portman Road as Magilton's advisor.

But there has never before been four 'old boys' in the first team squad at any one time. Is it too many?

Magilton can call on Richard Wright, who left in 2002 after joining the club from school, Tommy Miller, who left in 2005 after four years with Town, Pablo Counago, who departed with Miller after also joining in 2001, and Darren Ambrose, who is back initially on loan after departing Town in 2003 after coming through the Blues academy.

Wright returned in the summer and Miller and Counago during the 2007 close season, and the jury is still out on whether their returns will prove a success.

Obviously, Ambrose has yet to make a mark.

Miller and Counago are regular squad members, but neither can call himself a first team regular this term.

Wright has made the goalkeeper's jersey his own, but has yet to hit the form that earned him an England cap while helping the Blues gain promotion in 2000 and reach fifth place in the Premier League the following campaign.

The decisions to bring Crawford and Wark back to Portman Road proved to be spot on.

There is still time for Magilton's returnees to come up trumps, but as things stand many Town fans will need some convincing.

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