Royle calling in favours

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle intends to call in a few favours as he works his way through a shortlist of loan targets.An upbeat Royle laughed today: "I might even blackmail a few managers to get what I want!"I understand Royle is aiming to sign a wide player and a forward, preferably in time for Town's next test away to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday week.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle intends to call in a few favours as he works his way through a shortlist of loan targets.

An upbeat Royle laughed today: "I might even blackmail a few managers to get what I want!"

I understand Royle is aiming to sign a wide player and a forward, preferably in time for Town's next test away to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday week.

He is confident of having one new face in the line-up against the First Division leaders and added: "I would like it to happen as soon as possible so that we can work with him in a team

formation beforehand.

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"Ideally I want to bring in two. I have a shortlist of people and there are

several options. It's down to availability first, then money."

Allowing striker Marcus Bent to move to Leicester in a season-long loan deal has released the funds for Royle to draft in reinforcements.

Speculation about former Town

midfielder Darren Ambrose returning on a temporary basis has been rife since he was sold to Newcastle for £1million in March.

But Royle said he has not spoken to his St James' Park counterpart, Sir Bobby Robson, about the teenager who has had shin splint problems this season.

A more likely target is Manchester City's out-of-favour attacker, Darren Huckerby, for whom former Maine Road boss Royle paid over £2 million to Leeds in December 2000.

Huckerby played a leading role in helping Nottingham Forest into the play-offs last season when he netted five times in nine league games during a successful loan spell.

His wages are higher than Ipswich would like to pay but, as Royle acknowledged, clubs often reach a financial agreement that suits all parties.

The same could apply to another Royle target, Aston Villa striker Peter Crouch, who has not had a look-in under new boss David O'Leary.

"I haven't been in yet, but it's not impossible," Royle responded when asked if Huckerby and Crouch were on his short list.

He went on: "I am looking at midfield and forward areas. I am happy enough with the defence."

Manchester United youngster Eddie Johnson, and England Under-19 cap described as a Mark Hughes type, is another who has been attracting interest from several First Division clubs.

Royle has seen his team take just two points from the first five league games of the season, courtesy of two draws and three

one-goal defeats.

But he insisted: "We are not that far away. There were some good signs on Saturday and at our best I know we are among the best in this division.

"We need a lift, though, and a new face or two will provide it. That's why I am looking and asking everywhere I can."

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