Black Cats keen on Reuser
SUNDERLAND are ready to see off Portsmouth in the chase to sign Ipswich Town's transfer-listed Martijn Reuser.Black Cats boss Howard Wilkinson sees Reuser as the possible answer to his left-sided midfield worries and not having to pay a fee is an added attraction to him and under-siege chairman Bob Murray.
SUNDERLAND are ready to see off Portsmouth in the chase to sign Ipswich Town's transfer-listed Martijn Reuser, writes Derek Davis.
Black Cats boss Howard Wilkinson sees Reuser as the possible answer to his left-sided midfield worries and not having to pay a fee is an added attraction to him and under-siege chairman Bob Murray.
Wilkinson is expected to make his move for Reuser tomorrow or Monday, after Sunderland's FA Cup trip to Blackburn.
A source in the north-east last night said: "One of our problem areas is down that left side so Martijn would help alleviate that, and to get a quality player like Martijn on a free is something which would appeal to Howard."
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Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is also known to be considering making a move for Reuser, who is bound to attract interest.
Reuser, 28 next week, was handed a free transfer as part of chairman David Sheepshanks' continued effort to bring the wage bill down, and not because the banks demanded it. The day-to-day running of the club continues to be directed by the Ipswich Town board and not bankers and they are looking to ensure they are financially stable if promotion is not achieved.
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But Blues boss Joe Royle last night admitted he had not yet been contacted about Reuser. He said: "I have not had any calls as yet although I know his agent in Holland is working overtime to get him fixed up somewhere.
"We have not had any further enquiries about players other than Justin Miller, who a couple of clubs have shown an interest in."
Carlisle, Leyton Orient, Hartlepool and Bournemouth have all shown interest in the 22-year-old centre-back.
Reuser has been otherwise engaged for the past couple of days as he is by his wife's bedside as she expects to deliver a baby any day now.
He has been excused travelling with the squad and now Richard Naylor has been withdrawn due to an Achilles injury picked up while playing in the reserves last week.
The Town attack will be led by ex-Blade Marcus Bent, who has been keeping an eye on his old club's progress.
He said: "I was really excited when I heard the draw and I'm looking forward to going back there. I don't have any sort of point to prove but I do like to go back to an old club and do well.
"Sheffield have been doing exceptionally well and getting to the semi-finals of the Worthington Cup against Liverpool was brilliant for them. But now we have a chance of going on a cup run ourselves so it is up to us to do that."
Town's starting line-up is likely to be the same as the one that went on to beat Preston 3-0 while Sheffield boss Neil Warnock is expected to make changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Anfield.
Keeper Paddy Kenny has been struggling with injury for the past three games and will be rested, while Wayne Allison is also expected to be on the bench after his recent exertions.
So that means Steve Kabba, the man whose two goals for Grimsby virtually ended George Burley's managerial reign, will be up front possibly with Paul Peschisolido or on-loan Tommy Mooney.
If Warnock decides not to risk Grant Smith down the left side then Mooney may drop back.
In defence Richard Edghill could make his debut against his old Manchester City boss with Shaun Murphy out with a broken nose and Tony Armstrong missing with a chipped bone.
Michael Tonge is suspended, while Dean Windass is cup-tied.
Sheffield United: de Vogt, Kozluk, Quinn, Brown, Jagielka, Page, Smith, McCall, Peschisolido, Kabba, Lovell, Mooney, Kenny, Edghill, Ten Heuvel, Cryan, Thompson and Allison.
Ipswich Town: Marshall, Wilnis, Holland, Gaardsoe, Makin, Hreidarsson, Wright, Magilton, Miller, M Bent, Counago, D Bent, Pullen, Ambrose, Richards and Abidallah.
Referee: Dermot Gallagher (Banbury).