New boys straight in

IPSWICH new boys Alex Bruce and Dan Harding will be plunged straight into Saturday's opening day line-up.

By Mel Henderson


IPSWICH new boys Alex Bruce and Dan Harding will be plunged straight into Saturday's opening day line-up.

That was the pledge from Town boss Jim Magilton as he celebrated signing the pair from Birmingham and Leeds respectively.

Norwich-born Bruce, 21, arrived on a free transfer yesterday, while the deal that brings Harding to Ipswich will be concluded by close of business today.

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As well as securing the services of the 22-year-old former Brighton left-back, Ipswich will receive £450,000 in a package that also sees midfielder Ian Westlake travel in the opposite direction.

Despite the players having little time to bed in, Magilton had no hesitation in declaring his intention to include both in the side to face Crystal Palace in the big kick-off.

He said: “I have every confidence in them or they wouldn't be here. I believe they are both very good footballers and therefore they will start on Saturday.”

Magilton will resume his quest for further reinforcements next week, preferring to focus for the time being on Palace and what he hopes will be a winning start to his managerial career.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble, 19, is ready to sign on loan after he returns from the Hammers' two-game trip to Greece on Monday.

And while Magilton has already spoken to 33-year-old Chris Sutton about a pay-as-you-play deal, he revealed his intention to make a second attempt to prise young defender Paul McShane away from Manchester United.

Magilton's recent attempt to clinch a season-long loan deal was blocked by Sir Alex Ferguson, although the Old Trafford boss is understood to be willing to part with the player in return for a £250,000 payment.

Armed with Leeds' cash, Magilton is now in a position to push through a permanent deal for the 21-year-old central defender, which could, if everything falls into place as he would like, take his number of new recruits to five.

The Town boss added: “I would love to get the kid on board but it's all been a bit hectic this week and I don't want anything else to get in the way of Saturday's game.

“Right now, nothing is more important than the Palace game, but I'm a big fan of McShane's and would like to get something sorted if I can.”

Meanwhile, new boy Bruce has spoken of his joy at moving to Portman Road from Birmingham, where father Steve is the manager.

The defender or midfield player started out as a trainee at Blackburn and has also had loan spells at Oldham, Sheffield Wednesday and Tranmere.

He said: “When I heard Ipswich were interested in me I was delighted because they are a club with an excellent reputation.

“I came down to see what the place was like and after looking around it confirmed what I thought about the club.”