Jones drops out of Town running

DAVE Jones has dropped out of the running to become Ipswich's new manager.The Cardiff boss, who also interested Crystal Palace, has instead decided to stay at Ninian Park and is poised to sign a new contract.

By Mel Henderson

DAVE Jones has dropped out of the running to become Ipswich's new manager.

The Cardiff boss, who also interested Crystal Palace, has instead decided to stay at Ninian Park and is poised to sign a new contract.

Jones' name has not been mentioned in connection with the Portman Road vacancy - until now - but the Star understands he briefly emerged as a contender for the job.

A former Everton team-mate of Joe Royle, he has already won promotion to the Premiership with Wolves and last year hauled Cardiff close to a top-six finish.

He is also remembered for the sterling job he did on behalf of Stockport, taking them to Championship level, which earned him the chance to succeed Graeme Souness at Southampton in 1997.

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Palace chairman Simon Jordan was also keen to talk to Jones about succeeding Iain Dowie, who departed Selhurst Park yesterday.

Dowie will not be out of work for long and is expected to be installed elsewhere in a matter of days - but it will not be at Ipswich.

He is keen to be reunited with his family in Lancashire, although that has not stopped him being linked with Charlton as a possible successor to Alan Curbishley.

There is no way Dowie would take on the challenge of reviving Town's fortunes on a shoestring budget.

Nor are Ipswich the mystery club who have offered a job to ex-England rugby union chief Sir Clive Woodward, currently on the payroll at Southampton.

Chairman David Sheep-shanks and chief executive Derek Bowden were today set to interview at least two more of the candidates keen to succeed Royle, who quit almost a fortnight ago.

Among the names being linked with Ipswich are Steve Tilson (Southend), Andy Ritchie (Barnsley), Mike Newell (Luton), Martin Allen (Brentford), Kenny Jackett (Swansea), Paul Simpson (Carlisle) and Martin Ling (Leyton Orient), all of whom have achieved, or come close to, promotion with their clubs in recent seasons.

Ex-Town skipper Jim Magilton is also in the frame for a quick return to the club he quit as a player less than a month ago.

Although keen to continue playing for a further season, the 37-year-old would jump at the chance of a start in management with a club he knows inside out from his seven years as a key midfielder.

Ipswich are in the market for a young, ambitious type - and Scunthorpe's Brian Laws is another contender.

Laws, 44, has been in charge at Glanford Park for nine years and during that time he has twice led them to promotion from the bottom division into what is now known as League One, where they finished a respectable 12th last season.

Ipswich are in no rush to appoint Royle's successor, but they expect to be in a position to make an announcement during the first week in June.

Once Sheepshanks and Bowden have agreed which candidates should be interviewed for a second time, the entire Town board will be involved in the selection process.

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