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Royle in loan moan

PUBLISHED: 20:00 17 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 March 2010

JOE Royle today reflected on Ipswich's failure to make the play-offs and admitted: "Administration cost us dearly."

Royle looked back on the most traumatic campaign in the club's history and lamented the fact that he was unable to bolster his squad with loan signings.

JOE Royle today reflected on Ipswich's failure to make the play-offs and admitted: "Administration cost us dearly."

Royle looked back on the most traumatic campaign in the club's history and lamented the fact that he was unable to bolster his squad with loan signings.

As soon as the club slumped into administration early in February, boss Royle's hands were tied.

He was unable to make any signings because of a Football League embargo that has yet to be lifted.

Royle said: "We should have made it into the play-offs and if I had been able to bring in a couple of loan signings I really believe we would have done.

"I was at Bramall Lane the other night and the influence of loan players was there for all to see – Curtis and Rankine for Sheffield United and Huckerby for Forest.

"And when you look back at last season, at the number of Premiership players who stepped down a level to strengthen First Division teams, you can come up with plenty of examples."

With the virtual collapse of the transfer market, more and more clubs are utilising the loan system.

And it is a policy Royle hinted he will pursue next term, when he is confident Ipswich can challenge for automatic promotion.

Football League rules allow clubs to bring in as many as eight players on short-term loan – between 28 and 93 days – in one season.

Clubs can only field four short-term loan players at any one time and are restricted to the same number from any other club. Long-term loans, including season-long deals, are also a possibility – but all arrangements have to be finalised before December 31.

Last season Royle used just one loan signing – goalkeeper Paul Gerrard making five appearances in a month on loan from Premiership Everton – before the Blues went into administration.

Meanwhile, Royle is keeping his fingers crossed that Town exit administration and regain their Football League share in the weeks ahead.

"This is a big month for the club," he added. "The sooner we get through all this, and restore a bit of normality, the better."

Royle is making strenuous efforts to do his bit as Ipswich seek to prune their outgoings, particularly in the area of player wages.

He has offered free transfers to half a dozen players – goalkeepers Andy Marshall and James Pullen, midfielders Nabil Abidallah and Martijn Reuser, and strikers Alan Armstrong and Finidi George.

Were all six to find new clubs in the coming weeks, Town would slash their annual wage bill by more than £3million.

But all are under contract to the club for at least another 12 months and in George's case his £20,000-a-week deal still has two years to run.

Royle stressed: "If none of these players find new clubs before we start training for the new season, they will all be back with us.

"They will be treated properly and given every chance to stake their claims for first team football.

"Our position is clear – we must cut costs but we also need a team capable of challenging for the top two places."


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