Shaka fits bill for Town
IPSWICH fans are taking part in their annual guessing game.Who are the players boss Joe Royle plans to introduce as reinforcements for what he hopes will be a third successive promotion-challenging campaign?With England Under-21 ace Darren Bent having already departed and Kelvin Davis also likely to be on his way, the Town supremo has made the acquisition of a striker and goalkeeper his top priority.
IPSWICH fans are taking part in their annual guessing game.
Who are the players boss Joe Royle plans to introduce as reinforcements for what he hopes will be a third successive promotion-challenging campaign?
With England Under-21 ace Darren Bent having already departed and Kelvin Davis also likely to be on his way, the Town supremo has made the acquisition of a striker and goalkeeper his top priority.
But with cash in short supply, Royle has been promised only a fraction of the cash from the sale of £1m-rated keeper Davis - fans can forget any notions of a summer spending spree.
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Instead, in an action replay of his close-season manoeuvres last year, Royle will be scanning the free transfer market.
And there is no shortage of candidates, with dozens of players keen to find new clubs.
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Royle is after an experienced No.1 and with more than 400 appearances behind him, Shaka Hislop, freed by Portsmouth, fits the bill.
He may be 36 now, but the London-born Trinidad and Tobago international made 17 Premiership appearances for Pompey last season.
A lot would depend on Hislop's wage demands, but location would not be a problem since the 6ft 6in keeper was Essex-based during his time with West Ham.
Former Southend keeper Simon Royce, 33, is also on the lookout for a new club after his release from Charlton.
Another possibility is Canada keeper Lars Hirschfeld, who has been released by Leicester.
Royle could of course look abroad - and the same applies to his search for a striker.
But if he prefers to stay at home, Scotland international Dougie Freedman would appear to have all the right credentials.
Recently released by Crystal Palace, he made 20 Premiership appearances last season.
Though he scored just once in the top flight, the 30-year-old has commanded transfer fees of more than £3m, and bagged more than 160 goals, in a career taking in spells at QPR, Wolves, Nottingham Forest and Palace.
Bruce Dyer, football's first £1m teenager when he left Watford for Palace in 1994, has been released after scoring 11 goals last season in his second spell with the Hornets.
Reading have freed Lloyd Owusu, who is not short of experience, while Gifton Noel-Williams, Stoke's top scorer with 13 goals last term, is also seeking pastures new.
His occasional strike partner, Chris Greenacre, is available too. Royle knows him well from their time together at Manchester City.
Nicky Forster's decision to quit Reading and the fact that Steve Howard, whose goals helped Luton to the League One title last season, is undecided about his future could prompt interest from Royle.
But of all the candidates, Freedman looks the best bet. Ipswich were considering him for a possible loan last autumn.
Abroad, Royle could renew an interest in 23-year-old Rahamat Mustapha, now a free agent after his contract with Sparta Rotterdam expired.
The Ghanaian-born player known as Riga scored 21 goals in 33 league appearances last season, including 19 in his last 23 games for the Dutch club.
A former Holland Under-20 international, who participated in the FIFA World Youth Championships in Argentina in 2001, he was previously with Vitesse Arnhem and is now looking to move into the top flight or abroad.