Macken departs

JON Macken looks to have played his last game for Ipswich.The 29-year-old Crystal Palace striker was back at Selhurst Park this morning after netting three goals in 14 appearances during his four-month loan stay at Portman Road.

By Mel Henderson

JON Macken looks to have played his last game for Ipswich.

The 29-year-old Crystal Palace striker was back at Selhurst Park this morning after netting three goals in 14 appearances during his four-month loan stay at Portman Road.

I understand that the former Republic of Ireland international's wages have proved a major stumbling block to Town keeping him on board for the rest of the season.

Even with Palace subsidising the move, a common arrangement these days, Ipswich have decided it would not make financial sense to retain the experienced striker.

The move will swell the funds available to boss Jim Magilton to spend in the January transfer window,

Most Read

during which he hopes to complete deals for as many as three new players, at least one of which will be on a permanent basis.

Eagles' boss Peter Taylor said today: “Jon is as honest a pro as I know who works very hard.

“He suffered at Palace after not being a success here last season and has done well for Ipswich.

“Who knows, he could still go on to be a success at this club.”

Taylor added that the situation with Ipswich might not be “totally dead” but for Town to retain the player would probably require Palace to fund a bigger slice of his salary, rumoured to be more than £10,000 a week.

Macken arrived in September after making just two appearances for the Eagles during the early part of the campaign.

He broke his Ipswich scoring duck when he converted a tenth minute penalty in his sixth game, the 3-2 home defeat by one of his former clubs, Preston.

Macken added further goals in the games at Cardiff and Coventry, but he was left on the bench for Monday's 1-0 home win over Championship leaders Birmingham.

Macken will now try to force his way into a Palace side just one place below Ipswich in the table and rejuvenated in recent weeks thanks to a four-game unbeaten run.

Meanwhile, Magilton is casting his net far and wide in an attempt to bolster his squad for the remaining 19 games of the season.

It may seem a huge task since they are eight points adrift of sixth-placed Colchester, but no one at Portman Road has given up hope of gatecrashing the play-offs.

A glut of players - Martin Brittain, Dean Bowditch, Darren Currie, Ian Miller and Liam Trotter - have all returned from loan spells in all three divisions of the Football League.

Their immediate futures are uncertain, although the fact that Town dismissed Yeovil's request to retain ex-Newcastle winger Brittain for a third month suggests Magilton is ready to give him a chance.

However, the fact that Magilton was happy to allow the player to join the Sky Blues in the first place made it clear he did not figure in the Town manager's plans.

With Town counting every penny, it would appear to make little financial sense that they continue to pay the wages of an out-of-favour player for a further six months.

Miller, meanwhile, will definitely not be in Magilton's plans for Saturday's FA Cup third round trip to Chester as he is ineligible, having already played in this season's competition for former club Bury Town.

Town have made a firm bid for transfer target George O'Callaghan of Cork City, according to sources in Ireland.

Cork yesterday rejected Magilton's offer to keep the player on loan for the rest of the season, leaving him with no alternative but to make an offer.

Scottish club Dunfermline are also interested in the midfielder, who was on trial at Portman Road for three months.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter