Bowditch in Hammer swap deal?

EXCLUSIVE: Ipswich Town look ready to do a deal with West Ham that would bring in two new players to the club and get cash on top for Dean Bowditch.

EXCLUSIVE: Ipswich Town look ready to do a deal with West Ham that would bring in two new players to the club and get cash on top for Dean Bowditch, writes Derek Davis.

While the switch would not see the young Blues' striker move to Upton Park until January, one, or possibly two, top-quality midfield players could arrive at Portman Road within days.

The deal would be worth more than £1m to Ipswich and provide Joe Royle with a much-needed boost, physically and psychologically, to his midfield and the team in general.

Royle last night insisted nothing was imminent, and would not talk specifically about Bowditch, but admitted the right deal could make an immediate and important impact for Town.

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Royle said: “If we have to consider selling anyone in the window, it will be for one reason only and that would be for team strengthening.

“Talking generally, if we were to be able to get two players from one sale, then that might have to be considered.

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“The future is always great, but the present is very important and, at the moment, there is no doubt we need a boost and the fans need a boost.

“Bringing in a new player would give us a big boost. We have seen before the value of midfielders when we brought three in a couple of years ago and it gave us an immediate lift.”

Carl Fletcher is one of the players Town would like to bring in and the EADT reported last week how they had asked about the former Bournemouth midfielder after he returned from a loan spell at Watford.

Wales international Gavin Williams is believed to be the Hammer under consideration. The former Yeovil star has not featured in a Premiership game for West Ham this season, although has played in the Carling Cup and made his Welsh debut against Slovenia in August.

Wigan's Alan Mahon is being tracked, but he scored an excellent goal for the Latics on Saturday, and Matt Holland has said that if he did go out on loan from Charlton, Town would be his first choice.

Royle said: “All I can say at the moment is that nothing is imminent. As you know, I have asked about Carl Fletcher before.

“There have been players who we have thought we have been close too and then they have got in the side.

“It is not a massive list that we have, and we want people who will come in and make a difference, although I still insist when we have a fully-fit team then we are not far away.”

Teenage midfielder Owen Garvan is rated doubtful for the weekend with an ankle injury, while the experienced Kevin Horlock is still at least a couple of weeks away from playing after suffering a rib muscle problem.

Ian Westlake has been a longer-term injury victim with ankle ligament damage but he has targeted mid-November for a return to playing.

Royle said: “We have been hit hard by the loss of midfielders, and have three out at the moment. Prior to that, it was the forwards, and prior to that it was the centre-backs, so it has been hard for us.

“I'm fully aware fans don't want to hear excuses but we have had far more problems than Arsenal - and people go on about the injury crisis they have - and we don't have the back-up they have.

“I can understand the fans' frustrations, and Saturday was very disappointing for all of us, but all I ask is judge us when we are at full strength.”

n Former Blues striker Alun Armstrong has joined League Two outfit MK Dons on a three-month contract. Armstrong has recently been training with Colchester United, and has appeared for their reserves, but did not win a contract at Layer Road.

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