Joe wants Unsworth

PUBLISHED: 21:00 28 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:57 02 March 2010

IPSWICH want to bring David Unsworth back to Portman Road.

They are keen to sign the Portsmouth defender, who spent the final three months of last season on loan with Town.

IPSWICH want to bring David Unsworth back to Portman Road.

They are keen to sign the Portsmouth defender, who spent the final three months of last season on loan with Town.

Unsworth, 31, has one year of his Fratton Park contract still to run - but new Pompey boss Alain Perrin has deemed him surplus to requirements.

The only stumbling block is cash, with the former England man's current deal far in excess of what Ipswich would want, or can realistically afford, to pay.

But the south coast club are expected to cut their losses in one of two ways.

They can either settle up with Unsworth, making him a free agent to continue his career elsewhere.

Or, they can allow him to spend the 2005-2006 season on loan, subsidising a deal to make him affordable to his temporary employers.

Unsworth celebrated a scoring debut for Ipswich last season at Sheffield United and went on to make 16 league appearances.

But his loan deal expired before the play-offs and he was badly missed as Town were KO'd by eventual winners West Ham in the semi-finals.

He is a player well known to manager Joe Royle after the pair spent a successful time together at Everton in the mid-90s.

And Royle has made no secret of his desire to bolster his defensive options ahead of the big kick-off.

The Town boss said: “I am still looking for a defender. Ideally, I would like two, but I certainly hope to sign one.

“Having spent a substantial sum on signing Sam Parkin, I imagine any other signings would be Bosman free transfers or season-long loans.”

Unsworth started his career at Everton, then moved to West Ham and Aston Villa before returning to Goodison again in 1998.

Six years on he failed to agree a new deal and signed for Portsmouth, making 15 appearances in the Premiership last season before dropping out of favour.

But even if Pompey don't want him, Unsworth would have plenty to offer at Championship level and would help to reinforce a Town defence minus goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.

Meanwhile, former Pompey goalkeeper Shaka Hislop claims that Ipswich have made him an offer.

The 36-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international became a free agent after his Pompey

contract expired in the summer.

He said: “Ipswich have shown interest but they are not the only ones to do so. They were highly recommended by my friend David Unsworth and they have made a very interesting offer.

“There are still other clubs so I will have to decide soon. I will probably have to do it over the phone because of my international commitments.”

Hislop, who is representing his country at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, is understood to be concerned about relocating his wife and four children.

But it is unlikely that he is on his way to Portman Road, boss Royle having altered his stance on the goalkeeping issue in the last few weeks.

His original intention was to bring in an experienced keeper to compensate for the loss of Davis, who was sold to Sunderland for £1.25m.

However, he has since reconsidered and will run the rule over Lewis Price and Shane Supple in the pre-season games before deciding who should play in the campaign's opening fixture at home to Cardiff.

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