Wright to be back at Portman Road

RICHARD Wright looks all set to be Ipswich Town's number one next season.Blues fans have been left asking themselves if it could happen after weekend reports linked the former England goalkeeper with a return to Portman Road.

By Elvin King

RICHARD Wright looks all set to be Ipswich Town's number one next season.

Blues fans have been left asking themselves if it could happen after weekend reports linked the former England goalkeeper with a return to Portman Road.

And my sources suggest it is not just likley - but almost certain.

Wright, 29, is out of contract at Everton and looking for a new challenge after failing to blossom at both Arsenal and Everton.

Town manager Jim Magilton is a big admirer of Wright, having played with him at Portman Road and this, coupled with the keeper's desire to resurrect his career, points to a free-transfer move back to be number one at Town for 2007/08. Some Town supporters will be asking whether Wright has lost his sparkle and whether it would be a wise move to bring him back.

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There is no doubt he was one of the reasons why Ipswich gained promotion from the old Division One via the play-offs in 2000.

And he was a star turn the following campaign when the Tractor Boys stunned the football world when they finished fifth and qualified for the Europe.

Many will look back on Wright's transfer as one of the reasons the form of George Burley's Town side dipped so dramatically leading to relegation the following season.

And Wright is not the first player to have left Portman Road and found that the grass was not greener on the other side of the fence.

He will feel more at home around his family and friends back in Suffolk and will be confident of recapturing the form that won him two England caps.

Wright moved to Goodison Park from Arsenal for £3.5 million having left the Blues for Highbury in for a fee of around £2 million.

Magilton proved with the loan signing of Mike Pollitt from Wigan for the home Norwich game that he sees the benefits of having a more experienced keeper on his books.

Lewis Price - a Welsh international - and probably capable of attracting a fee is ahead of Shane Supple as the current keeper more likely to move on if Wright does arrive in the summer.

Twenty-two-year-old Price's contract runs out in the summer of 2008. Supple, who will be 20 next season, has stated he wants to play first team football after spending most of this campaign on the bench.

If Wright comes he is set to start next season in the team, with Magilton looking to his former team mate to keep the clean sheets that will give Ipswich's chances of competing for promotion a big boost.

Wright has played so few first team games since he was sold to Arsenal as a replacement for David Seaman in the summer of 2001.

He made a total of 22 appearances for the Gunners before he was transferred to Everton in July 2002.

At Goodison Park Wright has made 71 appearances and spent endless hours sitting on the bench as a succession of goalkeepers have come in ahead of him.

Everton manager David Moyes' decision to bring back Sheffield Wednesday loanee Iain Turner, 23, to face Manchester United last Saturday was final proof that Wright has no future on Merseyside.

Tim Howard was ineligible to face his parent club and Wright was hoping to be given the chance to show what he can do after starting just two matches this season - the Carling Cup game at Peterborough and the 3-0 Premiership defeat at Manchester United.

Magilton said: “Richard is someone I have always admired and you never know what can happen in football. He is a very good player who would certainly enhance the squad we have at this football club.

“But it is only speculation and we can't help that. He is an Ipswich lad and everyone knows what he thinks about the club.”

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