Royle in Bart race

IPSWICH must sign Chris Bart-Williams on a permanent deal or he will not face Millwall on Saturday.And he could have played his last game for Town unless chairman David Sheepshanks and his Charlton counterpart Martin Simons can thrash out an agreement in the next three days.

IPSWICH must sign Chris Bart-Williams on a permanent deal or he will not face Millwall on Saturday.

And he could have played his last game for Town unless chairman David Sheepshanks and his Charlton counterpart Martin Simons can thrash out an agreement in the next three days.

The 29-year-old midfielder's three-month loan spell expires on Friday, meaning Ipswich must act quickly to secure his services beyond that date.

Town originally thought he was eligible to play at The Den, but The Football League confirmed the permitted 93-day loan period is due to expire the previous day.


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Bart-Williams is too old for his loan to be extended, although manager Joe Royle was today hopeful that the player will remain on board.

Royle said: "Chris seems very positive about it. He is very happy here and is enjoying the fact that he is playing regular first team football.

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"I have spoken to Charlton boss Alan Curbishley and he has no problem with it, but as always it's down to the financial side and that's something for the two chairmen to discuss.

"I have never denied that I would love to sign him and I would say I am hopeful of us being able to sort out some sort of deal – initially, at least, to the end of the season."

Meanwhile, reserve pair Matt Bloomfield and Chris Hogg are likely to be heading for Boston on a month's loan.

Royle, who recently offered the duo free transfers, has agreed to Boston boss Neil Thompson's request and the final decision now rests with the players.

Hogg has already been on loan at Boston this season and has indicated he would be interested in returning, while Bloomfield is unlikely to reject the opportunity to show what he can do.

Town striker Alun Armstrong left hospital today after surgery on a deep gash he picked up in last night's 3-0 reserve defeat by Tottenham at Stevenage.

Looking ahead, Royle has confirmed that Georges Santos will be restored to the Town defence at Millwall after a one-game ban for collecting five bookings saw him sit out the win over Derby.

Royle said: "Georges is available again and he will return. He has been excellent for us this season."

But there is still a question mark as to who will partner him on Saturday, with Richard Naylor still rated doubtful after limping off with a hamstring injury midway through the first half against Derby.

John McGreal, who stood in for Santos against George Burley's side, could be in action again.

Fit-again striker Pablo Counago and on-loan midfielder Mahon, who returned to first team duty as a first-half substitute against Derby, are both pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

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