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Royle:We'll stay strong

PUBLISHED: 20:00 30 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

MANAGER Joe Royle today promised Ipswich fans: "There will be a strong base here next season."

Royle's words had a reassuring ring to them – but the Portman Road player cull is far from over.

MANAGER Joe Royle today promised Ipswich fans: "There will be a strong base here next season."

Royle's words had a reassuring ring to them – but the Portman Road player cull is far from over.

Town are still desperate to cut their wage bill and Royle admitted: "There could be one or two more players leaving. I am still assessing the situation with regard to next season.

"I am still talking with the chairman and this time next week I should be in a far better position to make an announcement."

Two more players, goalkeeper James Pullen and midfielder Nabil Abidallah, have been told they can leave on free transfers.

The pair still have a year remaining on their contracts and join Alun Armstrong, Martijn Reuser and Finidi George in being made available at no cost to potential buyers.

Royle added: "Both James and Nabil need first team opportunities that I am not in a position to offer them here.

"We need a keeper who is going to press Andy Marshall more for his first team place and James isn't ready to do that yet.

"If they move on it also gives us a slight saving in wages, although neither of them are by any means our biggest problem in that area.

"We are in administration and as part of our attempt to come out we have to reduce our wages."

But once Royle has decided which players he can do without next term, he also expects further close season transfer activity.

He said: "Bids will come in, but it won't be now. That will be later on in the summer – clubs don't like paying summer wages.

"I am looking ahead with confidence. That's the reason I came here and I will be looking to add a couple of players. There will still be a strong base here next season."

Meanwhile, teenage striker Dean Bowditch will be absent at Derby on Sunday after being named in the England squad for next week's European Under-17 Championship in Portugal.

Bowditch, 16, missed out on international honours earlier in the season after forcing his way into Town's first team squad, but will face Group B opponents Israel, Spain and Italy with Royle's blessing.

The Town boss said: "It will be good for Dean to play with his own age group and we have encouraged him. I was very proud to play for my country and so is he.

"England have been good about letting him stay with us earlier in the season, but I have spoken to coaches John Peacock and Paul Bracewell to let them know he'll be with them. There has to be give and take.

"Dean has had an exciting time since breaking into the senior squad. He has made us all realise what a tremendous talent he is."

England are one of the pre-tournament favourites and will be bidding to progress to the FIFA World Youth Championships in August.


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