Town hit by transfer block

IPSWICH have been hit by a transfer embargo that could have a devastating effect on their promotion prospects.The block on bringing in new players comes as a direct consequence of the debt-ridden club being plunged into administration.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH have been hit by a transfer embargo that could have a devastating effect on their

promotion prospects.

The block on bringing in new players comes as a direct consequence of the debt-ridden club being plunged into administration.

It means that manager Joe Royle's hands are firmly tied and he will be praying that injuries and suspensions do not bite hard in the coming months.

Defender Hermann Hreidarsson and striker Pablo Counago are both set to serve three-game bans for red card offences, with the former set to miss a fourth game after

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collecting five bookings.

Town are one of six clubs – Leicester, Barnsley, Port Vale, Notts County and York are the others – currently in administration.

A Football League spokesman confirmed: "All clubs in administration are automatically subjected to a transfer embargo and there is only a small degree of flexibility.

"Clubs in administration seeking to bring in new players have to ask our permission. The League's position is that if clubs have spare money we believe it should be used to pay off debts rather than in the transfer market.

"Then, as in Leicester's case, where they are moving out of administration, the League can be that bit more flexible.

"Leicester have made two requests – one they withdrew because their injuries cleared up. The other was to take Bryan Hughes from Birmingham on loan and we decided we could not allow that to happen."

League bosses are adamant that clubs in administration will only be allowed to draft in reinforcements in the most trying of circumstances.

"If a club lost all its goalkeepers or didn't have enough players to put a squad out, we would deem that to be an emergency," added the spokesman.

"Each club's case is considered on its individual merits. Our financial directors and in-house

solicitors are anxious to avoid a situation that impacts further on a club's financial problems."

But there is nothing to prevent players leaving Portman Road to join other Football League clubs.

And if the administrators do eventually take control of the club's affairs, it would put Ipswich at the mercy of their rivals and could further deplete Royle's squad.

If that situation arises once the temporary administration period expires, there is nothing to stop other clubs swooping on Portman Road.

The administrators would be under pressure to bring in much-needed funds, either by permanent transfers or by loaning players and saving their wages.

While Premiership clubs are affected by the closing of the transfer window at the end of January, it is business as usual for Football League outfits.

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