Town set to parade signing in friendly

IPSWICH are set to parade a new face in Friday's prestigious friendly against Italian side Lazio.Manager Jim Magilton was today in the process of completing a deal to bring in a player who will make his debut against Paolo Di Canio and Co.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH are set to parade a new face in Friday's prestigious friendly against Italian side Lazio.

Manager Jim Magilton was today in the process of completing a deal to bring in a player who will make his debut against Paolo Di Canio and Co.

The Town boss was keen to keep things under wraps until the deal was completed, but he said negotiations were at an advanced stage.

Magilton added: “I am just waiting for a phone call and fingers crossed everything will fall into place.

“There has been a lot of hustle and bustle and I am very hopeful of getting something done.”

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All being well, other new faces could follow, with the new boss admitting: “There are other bits and pieces in the pipeline, but for the time being it's one new signing and I think it will be done before we face Lazio.”

Town have been linked to a number of players during the close season, but I understand the prospective new arrival is NOT one of those previously bandied about.

Meanwhile, Lazio's successful appeal means they will come to Portman Road in two days' time with their Serie A status intact.

But their reputation has still taken a bashing as they will start the new season with an 11-point deficit following their part in the match-fixing scandal that rocked the domestic game in Italy.

And although they have also been hit by a two-match stadium ban, they are heaving a giant sigh of relief after a show of leniency by the federal court.

Lazio, with whom Town first infamously crossed swords in a notorious UEFA Cup clash in 1973 that was married by disorder at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, finished sixth in Serie A last term.

But while the Italian national team edged their way to World Cup glory in Germany, the match-fixing scandal proved an absorbing backdrop to the achievements of Marcello Lippi and his players.

Friday's game, which kicks off at 8pm, was arranged as part of the deal that took goalkeeper Matteo Sereni to Lazio.

Sereni, recommended by then England boss Sven Goran Eriksson, cost Ipswich a record fee of £5 million on the eve of the 2001-2002 season when he moved from Sampdoria.

But he was on his way back home the following year, joining Brescia on loan, and in 2003 he completed his return to Italy by joining Lazio.

Sereni was loaned to Treviso last season after being unable to dislodge 36-year-old veteran Angelo Peruzzi from the Lazio first team.

Peruzzi and defender Massimo Oddo were the only two Lazio players included in Italy's 23-strong squad for the World Cup, the latter making a 23-minute appearance as a substitute in the 3-0 win over Ukraine in the quarter-finals.