All quiet as deadline day looms

TODAY'S transfer deadline is threatening to be the quietest in football history, according to Blues boss Joe Royle.

TODAY'S transfer deadline is threatening to be the quietest in football history, according to Blues boss Joe Royle, writes Derek Davis.

The Ipswich Town manager admits it is unlikely anyone will come in or move out of Portman Road but is not entirely surprised at the lack of wheeling and dealing.

Royle was watching as Town Reserves drew 1-1 with Watford on Wednesday night and checked on the progress of regular first-teamers Alun Armstrong, Chris Bart-Williams and Drissa Diallo.

Georges Santos was also playing after turning down a move to Vicarage Road, and their request was the only interest shown in Town players this week.

Royle said: “This will go down as the quietest March on record for sure.

“It is a sign of the times in football where the only movement has been a couple of loans or free transfers.”

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Although Diallo is suspended for the trip to Wimbledon on Saturday, Ipswich were handed a boost when England agreed to release Dean Bowditch from international duty next week.

The Under-18 manager Martin Hunter agreed to Royle's request not to use the 17-year-old in the friendly international against Belgium at Northampton.

The Blues were already given a boost in their preparations to reach the play-offs by having Tommy Miller free to train with them next week ahead of their televised home game with West Bromwich Albion on Sunday week, which supporters are reminded is a 4pm kick-off.

Bowditch was also on stand-by for the England Under-19s squad to play Germany but has now been stood down.

Shefki Kuqi will fly out to Malta on Sunday after being called up for Finland but Tommy Miller was not in the Scotland squad to play Romania, and Royle was delighted by that.

He has been pleased with the form of all his midfielders and was relieved Miller's preparation was not disturbed.

Royle said: “I'm always puzzled why they (the midfielders) get stick from some people here. Especially when opposing managers consistently say after games how many problems our midfield have caused and are full of praise for them.”

Royle also praised Jermaine Wright's recent input saying no one could doubt his talent.

“It was the consistency that was missing and now that he has got his fitness sorted out he has been terrific for us.

“Make no mistake, the lad has bags of ability. There are players with less talent than Jermaine who have gone on to play for England.”

Alfie Kamara rescued a point for Ipswich Reserves with a brave finish to get on the end of a low Stuart Boardley cross which Watford failed to deal with. Jamie Hand had given Watford the lead in a game delayed by 15 minutes due to the late arrival of the Watford team coach.

Armstrong missed a penalty when Santos was brought down by Richard Lee, who was saved a red card by defenders getting back to cover.

The young keeper redeemed himself by making a good diving save to his left to turn away Armstrong's low spot-kick.

Hand's opener in the 10th minute came when he got on the end of a loose clearance to beat Lewis Price with a low 25-yard drive. Price made a superbly athletic save late on to tip over a looping Elliot Godfrey header in a game of very few clear chances.

Town trialist Michael Waters, a 19-year-old who had a spell with Swansea City, was replaced at half-time along with Bart-Williams.

Ipswich Reserves: Price, Mitchell, Barron, Kamara, Collins, Diallo, Waters (Boardley, 46) Santos, Morrow, Armstrong (Reid, 78) and Bart-Williams (Flack, 46). Subs not used: Supple and Patten.

Watford: Lee, Doyley, Collins, Hand, Blizzard, Gayle (McNamee, 67) Fisken, Bouazza (Godfrey, 70) Webber, Vernazza and Young (Norville, 70). Subs not used: Swonell and Coyne.

Referee: Martin Harris (Lincs).

Attendance: 402.

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