Town loan bids fail

INJURY-HIT Ipswich have failed with three attempts to recruit an on-loan defender in time to face Leicester on Saturday.With time now against them, it looks as if Town will have no choice but to start with the makeshift back four that finished Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at QPR.

By Mel Henderson

INJURY-HIT Ipswich have failed with three attempts to recruit an on-loan defender in time to face Leicester on Saturday.

With time now against them, it looks as if Town will have no choice but to start with the makeshift back four that finished Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at QPR.

Boss Joe Royle admitted: “It is proving very hard to find players and it has been this way for a while.


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“We are still waiting and hoping, but unless something happens to surprise me I don't see the situation changing before the weekend.”

With Jason De Vos still sidelined by the cracked ribs sustained in the season's opening game against Cardiff, and on-loan Charlton defender Mark Fish not fit enough, Royle's back line picks itself.

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Fish, 31, only lasted the first half of the game at Loftus Road and Royle added: “He is still registered to us for the month but he has gone back to Charlton to work on his fitness.

“We will see how he is in the next ten days to two weeks and go from there. Young defenders Aidan Collins and Gerard Nash are injured, while Chris Casement isn't ready for this yet.

“I spent some time on the phone yesterday and asked about three defenders, but on each occasion the answer was no.

“Therefore, it isn't too difficult to work out our defence for Leicester. It's a case of four into four!

“I only hope the medical people are right about Jason being out for a minimum of two weeks and not longer.

“Cracked ribs are notoriously slow to heal, so if he is ready to return in a fortnight or so I will be delighted.”

Fortunately, with the modest resources at his disposal, Royle has no other injury woes ahead of Saturday's game against a Leicester side buoyant after Tuesday's 4-2 home win over Stoke.

Meanwhile, Royle is delighted for new first choice keeper Lewis Price that he is in line to make his senior international debut for Wales next week.

Price, 21, is in line to face Slovenia in a friendly and a solid display in that game could earn him the nod from boss John Toshack to face England in a vital World Cup qualifier on September 3 in Cardiff.

Royle said: “I got word a couple of weeks ago that Lewis might have a chance and with their more senior keepers not playing regularly it seems like the ideal time for Wales to have a good look at him.

“When Kelvin (Davis) went it was high in my mind that Lewis deserved his chance. He had never let us down when deputising for Kelvin and he is at the right age to be coming through.

“He now has all the opportunity a lad could ask for in his position to grab with both hands - if you'll excuse the pun - the chance to establish himself for club and country.”

Royle looked ahead to Saturday's trip to the East Midlands by adding: “Leicester are promotion outsiders at the moment.

“They lost 4-1 at Sheffield United but it was 1-1 with less than ten minutes to go at Bramall Lane.

“Then they bounced back at their place against Stoke and I am not at all surprised that they are emerging as a threat.”

Ipswich have finally been able to reach agreement with Lazio about a date for the first of two pre-season games arranged as part of the deal that took goalkeeper Matteo Sereni back to Italy two years ago. The Serie A side will be at Portman Road on Friday July 28, 2006.

Derby County have withdrawn from the Barclays Premiership Reserve League (South), so Ipswich's scheduled games against them in November and March have been cancelled.

The Ipswich youth team fought back from 2-0 down to defeat Rushden & Diamonds 4-2 in a pre-season friendly at Playford Road yesterday. The goals were scored by Tony Boto, Charlie Sheringham (pen), Jordan Rhodes and Stuart Ainsley. The visitors included former Stoke High School pupil Scott Wark in their side.

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