Jim closing in on loan defender deal

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton revealed today that he is close to bringing in a defender on loan.But even if the deal goes ahead Magilton is unlikely to include the new arrival in his squad for tomorrow's game against Sheffield Wednesday.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton revealed today that he is close to bringing in a defender on loan.

But even if the deal goes ahead Magilton is unlikely to include the new arrival in his squad for tomorrow's game against Sheffield Wednesday.

The Town boss said: “I am just waiting for a phone call and I am very hopeful but I don't think it would be fair on the player to throw him straight in.”

Magilton confirmed that another loan star, Gary Roberts, will be in his starting line-up to face the Owls and has added young midfielder Sammy Moore to his squad.

Teenage striker Billy Clarke is ruled out again with the knee injury that sidelined him at Burley last weekend and Town hope that a visit to a specialist, following on from a scan, does not reveal further problems.

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The 18-year-old's absence is at least tempered with the news that Jon Macken has recovered from the hamstring strain that has kept him out of the last three games.

But because Macken has only managed one goal in his nine games since arriving on loan from Crystal Palace, he could be under pressure from another youngster, Danny Haynes, to line up alongside top scorer Alan Lee.

Haynes was on target twice in this week's 3-0 reserve win over Norwich to push his claims for what would be his first league start since April.

Magilton must also make a change in midfield, with on-loan Charlton teenager Simon Walton serving a one-game ban for collecting five yellow cards.

Clarke's injury, which has forced him to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland B international squad for Tuesday's friendly against Scotland in Dublin, is causing most concern at Portman Road.

But the club's head of sports science, David Williams, struck an optimistic note ahead of the visit to a specialist when he said: “It doesn't look too serious.

“There is a bit of bone bruising around the knee and he will certainly be out for the weekend, but we're hopeful that he may be OK for the Norwich match. It will be down to what the specialist says.”

Town are desperate to record a second successive home win after taking just one point from two demanding away games at Plymouth and Burnley, where they were sunk by a last-gasp stunner.

Tomorrow's game will mark the farewell appearance of on-loan midfielder Mark Noble, who will report back to West Ham on Monday morning.

But Magilton has made it clear that he would welcome Noble back to Portman Road in January if the 19-year-old does not succeed in his attempt to regain a place in manager Alan Pardew's senior squad.

In the short term, former Town favourite Tommy Miller is poised to return on loan from Sunderland next week to take Noble's place in Magilton's squad.

Tomorrow's visitors will be under the management of new boss Brian Laws for the first time, with the ex-Scunthorpe chief looking to build on caretaker Sean McAuley's excellent record of ten points from a possible 12.

A draw at Wolves and home wins over QPR, Crystal Palace and Leicester, who had been unbeaten in their previous eight league games, have lifted Wednesday clear of the Championship drop zone and to within one point of Town.

Laws has signed experienced goalkeeper Mark Crossley, his former Nottingham Forest team-mate, on loan from Fulham and he goes straight into the squad for the trip to Suffolk.

SQUADS

IPSWICH: Supple, Wilnis, De Vos, Bruce, Naylor, Harding, Noble, Walton, Legwinski, Richards, Lee, Haynes, Sito, Peters, Roberts, Currie, Moore and Drobny.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Crossley, Bullen, Bougherra, Coughlan, Simek, Hills, Lunt, Folly, Small, Brunt, Tudgay, Burton, Talbot, Whelan, O'Brien, MacLean, Spurr and Adamson.

Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

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