Town go in for the Kil

IPSWICH Town have launched a loan bid for Birmingham star Neil Kilkenny.Blues boss Jim Magilton wants to seal a temporary deal for the midfielder, who was an unused substitute in his side's 1-0 defeat at Portman Road on New Year's Day.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH Town have launched a loan bid for Birmingham star Neil Kilkenny.

Blues boss Jim Magilton wants to seal a temporary deal for the midfielder, who was an unused substitute in his side's 1-0 defeat at Portman Road on New Year's Day.

Magilton is understood to have turned his attention to Kilkenny after Cork City rejected his bid to take long-term target George O'Callaghan on loan.


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The former Port Vale midfielder has been on trial with Ipswich since September and Magilton said recently that he would be offering him a contract.

But Cork boss Damien Richardson said today: “Ipswich have not made a genuine offer as of yet. They want him on loan until the end of the English season.

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“He's been there for the last three months, so we can't even understand why they would want that. So we've turned that down. They either want to sign him or they don't.”

It could be that Ipswich and Cork reach agreement on a permanent transfer, but Magilton is planning a busy few weeks of transfer activity before the transfer window closes again at the end of January.

Any deal for Kilkenny will hinge on whether his manager, Steve Bruce, feels he can afford to release him at a time when his side's lead at the top of the Championship has been cut to three points.

Kilkenny, who was 21 last month, started his career with Arsenal and moved to St Andrew's three years ago, impressing sufficiently to earn himself a contract through to June 2009.

Birmingham had to fight off interest from a number of clubs to capture a player born in Middlesex but raised in Brisbane after his parents emigrated to Australia when he was a youngster.

He has made 36 appearances for the Midlands outfit, ten in the starting line-up and the rest as a substitute, and is finding it difficult to hold down a regular place this season.

Two years ago Kilkenny spent six months on loan at Oldham, who were managed at the time by ex-Ipswich, Arsenal and England star Brian Talbot. His contribution of five goals in 34 games for the Latics had a lot to do with them avoiding relegation.

Kilkenny made the first team breakthrough at Birmingham last season,

ending with 25 appearances to his name as the Blues were relegated.

Although also eligible to play for England and Ireland, he opted to play for Australia and was part of a young squad selected by national boss Guus Hiddink to train with the senior stars ahead of the World Cup.

He made his international debut when he was a late substitute for the Aussies in their 3-1 victory over Liechtenstein in a pre-tournament friendly played in Ulm, Germany.

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