Jim: I'm not interested

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton today dismissed reports that Linfield striker Peter Thompson was a transfer target.Reports in Northern Ireland said Magilton had flown to Belfast to watch the 22-year-old in action last night.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Jim Magilton today dismissed reports that Linfield striker Peter Thompson was a transfer target.

Reports in Northern Ireland said Magilton had flown to Belfast to watch the 22-year-old in action last night.

But Magilton said: “It's absolute rubbish. I can only assume the newspaper in question heard I was coming over and put two and two together to come up with five.

“I am going to Belfast today. I have agreed to go to my old school, St Mary's Grammar, and to present prizes and say a few words at an awards ceremony.

“My trip has nothing to do with football. I am simply doing my old school a favour - but that doesn't mean I don't know about Peter Thompson.

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“Most people in football know the kid because of his goals and there have been plenty of managers and scouts watching him.

“I'm told that Andy Ritchie (Barnsley) and John Sheridan (Oldham) were having a look at him last night but Ipswich have known all about him for a couple of years.

“Joe (Royle) had him watched and we've got reports on the lad. But I never had any intention of going to Belfast to watch the game.”

Linfield were held 0-0 by league leaders Glentoran in last night's Irish League Cup semi-final at Windsor Park before going out 4-3 on penalties.

Magilton added: “I know Linfield are asking a lot of money for the player and we have never even got close to entering negotiations.

“It seems that every time there's a decent player in Northern Ireland I'm going to be linked with him because of my connections.”

Belfast-born Magilton, who captained his country, was clearly angered by the fact that he was said to be pursuing Thompson, who scored 48 goals last season and has so far netted 77 times in 134 appearances, 27 of them as a substitute.

His main target for the time being is to bring in a loan defender, with Reading's John Halls his number one choice.

But the Royals' player is currently injured and Magilton is planning to find out how long the ex-Arsenal and Stoke player is likely to be out of action before deciding to switch his search elsewhere.

A knee injury has caused 18-year-old Town striker Billy Clarke to be withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland B squad for next Tuesday's friendly with Scotland in Dublin, but goalkeeper Shane Supple and defender Alex Bruce are set to report for duty. Top scorer Alan Lee is in the senior squad for the match against San Marino next Wednesday.

Another Ipswich Town teenage striker, Danny Haynes, is celebrating his first international call-up.

He has been included in the England Under-19 squad for their clash with Switzerland at Gresty Road, Crewe, next Wednesday, after originally being placed on stand-by for the game.

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