Loan striker could face Stoke

JOE Royle has not ruled out the possibility of a new loan striker facing Stoke City when Ipswich Town visit the Potteries next Monday.The Ipswich Town manager is set to have increased funds at his disposal next week - and with the transfer window opening at the end of the year Royle may be able to move quickly, but it will be subject to the administration being completed in time over the holiday period.

By Elvin King

JOE Royle has not ruled out the possibility of a new loan striker facing Stoke City when Ipswich Town visit the Potteries next Monday.

The Ipswich Town manager is set to have increased funds at his disposal next week - and with the transfer window opening at the end of the year Royle may be able to move quickly, but it will be subject to the administration being completed in time over the holiday period.

“If things work out and the paperwork can be completed in time, then we could sign someone before we play Stoke,” said Royle.

“Discussions are taking place and we will have to wait and see.”

And with Gavin Williams expected to agree a two-and-a-half year deal after West Ham accepted a £350,000 bid for the Welsh international midfielder, who has been on loan at Portman Road for two months, Town's squad is in line for a double boost.

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With Richard Naylor suspended for that game, a new addition would be timely particularly if Nicky Forster and Gavin Williams join the growing list of players in the treatment room.

Forster is still being assessed after jarring his knee in the 2-0 Championship defeat at Hull on Wednesday.

His knee is swollen and after undergoing a cartilage operation in the autumn, he has to be a big doubt.

Williams took knocks to his ankle and knee at Hull when Royle said that the midfield player was 'wiped out' a couple of times.

Good news for Ipswich fans is that Adam Proudlock and Kevin Horlock were due to take part in a normal training session today.

Neither will be considered for tomorrow's home game with Luton Town (kick-off 1pm), but they could come into the equation for Monday's match.

Royle admits that defender Naylor is a candidate for a striking role tomorrow if Forster is ruled out.

“We also have Dean Bowditch,” said Royle, who was full of praise for the part played by 17-year-old Danny Haynes up front against Hull.

“He did very well for 25 minutes after replacing Nicky Forster,” said Royle. “However, that is all you can expect from the kid at this stage of his career.

“He has bags of promise but is not strong enough to last for a full 90 minutes yet. It is only natural that he will tire.

“Our best strike partnership is obviously Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin - but they have only played together six times.”

Luton, who have an eagerly awaited derby with Watford at Kenilworth Road on Monday, were promoted last season and manager Mike Newell has led them into a position where they can fight for a play-off spot.

They beat Brighton 3-0 at home on Wednesday and will provide injury-hit Town with a stiff test as the Blues seek their first home win since November 5.

Ipswich are not signing defender Arthur Gnohere. He has gone back to France after failing to impress enough to earn a contract at Portman Road during a trial.

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