Clarke and Crowe available for loan

Matt Clarke on the ball at Crawley

Matt Clarke on the ball at Crawley

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says that youngsters Matt Clarke and Michael Crowe are both available for loan.

Ipswich Town keeper Michael Crowe

Ipswich Town keeper Michael Crowe - Credit: Archant

Towering centre-back Clarke, 18, has been a regular on the Blues bench this season and impressed on his full debut, playing at left-back, in the 1-0 extra-time League Cup defeat at Crawley last August. The former Claydon High School pupil’s only other first team appearance was as a late sub in the 3-1 win at Millwall recently.

Keeper Michael Crowe, 19, who stands at 6ft 5in tall, has dropped to fourth in the pecking order following the arrival of Paddy Kenny on loan and the return to fitness of Dean Gerken. Born in London, the teenage custodian grew up in Norway, joined Town from IK Start in 2012 and, due to the fact he has a Welsh grandfather, as represented Wales at Under-19 level.

“I’d love for Michael Crowe top go out somewhere and play,” said McCarthy. “He’s had no real competitive football.

“And Clarkey – I’m really surprised nobody’s asked about him. I think he would be a great addition for somebody lower down. The reason I haven’t really encouraged it is because, if I had a problem, I’d play him. He could do with some football though.

“He could play at League One level without any problem for me. He’ll play in the Championship at some stage. He’s a very capable young fella.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy revealed he was offered a raft of left-backs ahead of the window for permanent deals closing last Monday, agents and clubs anticipating that the Blues may sell Tyrone Mings. No key players departed Portman Road though, the club’s repeated hands-off warnings meaning no-one lodged any bids for the likes of Mings, Teddy Bishop and Daryl Murphy.

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McCarthy has a 22-man first team squad heading into the 18-game run-in, starting with tomorrow’s game at 20th-place Rotherham, and may yet utilise the emergency loan window when that opens next week.

“I spoke to TC (assistant Terry Connor) this morning and just had a discussion,” he said. “We’ve got three games in a week coming up and currently have just 18 fit outfield first team players. Most of them have played a good chunk of the games we’ve played already.

“There is that option; emergency loan. I think now that the window is shut, there will be Premier League clubs that might find they have somebody surplus to requirements or coming back from injury that needs games. We’ll see.

“At the moment though we’re okay. We’re fine as we are.”

Meanwhile the Blues said that recent traillist Semi Ajayi – the 6ft 5in centre-back who will be out of contract with Arsenal at the end of the season – is weighing up his options.

Asked about the 21-year-old, who played in a recent Under-21s game against Cardiff, he said: “He went to Sunderland before us and is going to half a dozen more. Good luck to him. Everyone wants to look at a 6ft 5in centre-half from Arsenal. I guess it will be down to him and whatever offers he gets. We’ve not offered anything yet.”

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