Makin close to Bolton deal

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today dismissed talk of a Portman Road exodus.For the second successive day, Royle was in fiery mood as he sought to put the departure of seven senior stars into proper perspective.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today dismissed talk of a Portman Road exodus.

For the second successive day, Royle was in fiery mood as he sought to put the departure of seven senior stars into proper perspective.

He was speaking as defender Chris Makin turned his back on the club and booked himself a return ticket to the Premiership, thought to be with Bolton.

Royle said: “I am reading of an exodus, but I don't see it like that. Yes, I wanted to keep both John McGreal and Jermaine Wright and I am disappointed that they decided to move on.


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“But Jason De Vos has come in to replace John, while Jermaine will be replaced as I've already said this week.

“Jermaine, near as damn it, played in all our games last season, but John only managed 18 league starts because he was out injured.

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“In fact, if you take John's starts and add them to those made by the other five players to leave - Alun Armstrong, Marcus Bent, Chris Bart-Williams, Martijn Reuser and now Chris Makin - you get a grand total of 59.

“And, don't forget, we had a successful season in reaching the play-offs, but none of the five were regulars.”

Royle is keen to play down talk of an exodus and repeated the point he made in last night's Star that he believes Town can be better than they were last season.

He added: “My priority remains midfield. I want at least one, maybe two, players for that area of the team and I have already made moves in that direction for a specific target.”

Manchester-born Makin, 31 has completed his about-turn first revealed in the Star on Saturday.

Initially, he seemed happy with the club's interim offer of a two-month deal, while the club wanted him to prove his fitness - he was sidelined for virtually the entire 2003-2004 campaign through injury - ahead of committing himself until June next year.

Royle said today: “Chris didn't report for training yesterday - not that he needed to because his contract with us expired on Wednesday - and we have been unable to contact him since then.

“What does that tell us? We can only assume he is moving elsewhere and no longer wants to be at Ipswich.

“I am disappointed from an ethical point of view, if you like, because the club supported him all last season when he only managed to play half a dozen games.”

Perhaps significantly, Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has not travelled to the club's Italian training camp because he had “other transfer business” to attend to.

Three other out-of-contract players, Fabian Wilnis, Richard Naylor and Jim Magilton, have all agreed new 12-month packages to remain at the club.

Meanwhile, Reuser is to undergo a medical today ahead of signing a three-year deal with Dutch club Willem II.

Town are giving him a £300,000 golden handshake - around half what he would receive if he stayed on the Portman Road payroll.

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