Royle plays down Dougie link

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today played down the latest reports linking him with a loan swoop for Crystal Palace striker Dougie Freedman.Royle watched the 30-year-old, twice-capped Scotland international in scoring action for the Eagles' reserves as they went down 2-1 at Coventry on Wednesday.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today played down the latest reports linking him with a loan swoop for Crystal Palace striker Dougie Freedman.

Royle watched the 30-year-old, twice-capped Scotland international in scoring action for the Eagles' reserves as they went down 2-1 at Coventry on Wednesday.

But he confirmed today: “There is nothing imminent. I watched the game - I wouldn't deny that - but I was simply having a look along with other managers.

“It's all part of the on-going process, nothing more than that. We have an ever-changing list of possible loan targets but there is no need for urgency at the moment.”

As if to underline the fact, Royle was speaking from an airport departure lounge as he waited to head off for a few days at his Majorca holiday home.

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He will be back at his desk on Tuesday for the build-up to Town's next game, at home to Burnley tomorrow week.

Although Town are currently second in the Coca-Cola Championship - they only trail leaders Wigan on goal difference - Royle is certainly not resting on his laurels.

But reinforcements will not be arriving just for the sake of it, he was quick to confirm.

He added: “I have said I am keen to bring in one or two players on loan and that still remains the case, but there is no specific target. It will depend on our needs.

“There isn't a lot wrong with the team at the moment - it's like the Americans say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

“On the other hand we have to be ready just in case something does happen - that's where we're at.”

Royle is also mindful of not delaying the progress of rising stars like 18-year-old Dean Bowditch, on

target in last weekend's 2-1 win at Coventry and impressive again for England's under-19 side in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic at Carrow Road.

But while Freedman's name has been bandied about for several weeks, along with others, Royle is clearly prepared to wait until the time is right before making a firm move for any of the players on his list of possible targets.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Kelvin Davis will not train again until Tuesday as he continues his battle to be fully fit for Burnley's visit to Portman Road.

He missed the win at Coventry and has since had injections in the problem area. “We're giving him all the time in the world,” said Royle.

“That's the advice we have been given and we'll see how Kelvin is next week. If he's fit to play against Burnley he'll be in, otherwise Lewis Price will continue.”

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