Naylor says no to new deal
RICHARD Naylor today edged closer to leaving Ipswich when he rejected the offer of an extended deal at Portman Road.Town boss George Burley admitted the club would consider offers for the £1 million-rated striker.
By Mel Henderson
RICHARD Naylor today edged closer to leaving Ipswich when he rejected the offer of an extended deal at Portman Road.
Town boss George Burley admitted the club would consider offers for the £1 million-rated striker.
Burley said: "Richard has spoken to me about his situation. He is not a first team regular at the moment, but I wanted him to stay at the club and offered him an extension to his current deal.
"He said he would prefer to keep his options open and I appreciate how he feels. I need a strong squad, but at the same time you have to be fair to people as well.
"Richard is a tremendous professional who never gives less than 100 per cent. Naturally, he wants to play first team football and I'm not in a position to guarantee him that."
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Youth product Naylor, 24, is under contract until the summer of 2003 and said: "That's quite a long time and I didn't think it would be very fair to sign a new one, just for the sake of it.
"I will have to wait and see what happens, whether I can force my way in at Ipswich or if someone else comes in for me. You never know in this game."
Naylor has only started twice this season and has one goal to his credit, scored in Town's lone Premiership win, the 3-1 home defeat of Derby.
He has become a regular on the bench and the lack of first team opportunities is clearly frustrating a player who has endeared himself to supporters with his wholehearted approach.
The Leeds-born raider added: "I am just looking to play football, but the gaffer isn't playing me. There's no point in extending a contract if you're not in the team.
"I just want to be more involved – that would be my ideal situation. The reason I train every day is to get a run-out on a Saturday, but it's not happening."
First Division leaders Crystal Palace, along with Yorkshire pair Barnsley and Bradford, are all known to be monitoring Naylor's situation, with Palace boss Steve Bruce recently speaking in glowing terms about the player.
Naylor added: "My agent is aware of the situation and the club are being fair. The gaffer understands my situation and has said they won't stand in my way if they receive the right offer."