Ambrose likely to line-up for Town

DARREN Ambrose will travel to St James' Park today to finalise his £2.5 million transfer move to Newcastle United but is very likely to be lining up for Ipswich Town against Gillingham on Saturday.

By Derek Davis

DARREN Ambrose will travel to St James' Park today to finalise his £2.5 million transfer move to Newcastle United but is very likely to be lining up for Ipswich Town against Gillingham on Saturday.

In an unprecedented move, Newcastle and Ipswich will seek permission from the Football League executive board to allow him to finish the season at Portman Road while signed for the Premiership giants.

The Football League are expected to be sympathetic with Ipswich in administration and in desperate need of the cash from the sale. And Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson is keen to have Ambrose's signature secured, but happy to wait until the summer to actually take him on board.

If permission is refused Ambrose, who, despite a thigh strain, would have been on the bench for Ipswich's draw with Brighton on Saturday, will be available for the Magpies game against Everton on April 6, but unlikely to figure.

The teenage star held initial talks with Newcastle officials on Saturday, but did not go and watch them dismantle Blackburn Rovers 5-1. Instead he returned to his Ipswich home in the evening.

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His agent said last night: "Things have moved very quickly for Darren. One minute he was told he was on the bench to play Brighton and few hours later he was told the club had accepted an offer from Newcastle and he was free to talk to them.

"Darren has never planned to leave Ipswich and would love to stay but, as you can understand, when a club like Newcastle shows this sort of interest in you then you should go and talk to them. He has been at Ipswich since he was 10 and has a soft spot for them. He is very happy here and would love to finish the season with Ipswich."

The Tyneside club have tracked Ambrose closely all season, as he has led the way at Town in assists and weighed in with 11 goals.

Robson, who has a policy of buying British and young, compared Ambrose to £5m signing Jermaine Jenas and last night added: "We are in talks with Ipswich about the registration of Darren Ambrose. We will let him go back to Ipswich for the season. He only turned 19 in February and he's just like Jermaine Jenas was a year ago."

Meanwhile, Hermann Hreidarsson has yet to be contacted by either club after Ipswich agreed a fee, believed to be around £1.5m, with Premiership-bound Portsmouth. He is expected to hold talks about a move to Fratton Park in the next 36 hours. Pompey must have the deal finalised before Thursday when the normal Division One transfer deadline comes into effect.

If both sales go through this week the Town administrators will not press for more player movement until the end of the season.

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