Craig dismisses suggestions

LIAM Craig last night dismissed suggestions that a compensation package due to Hearts has stopped him winning a professional contract at Ipswich Town.The reserve team skipper, who captained the Academy side to FA Youth Cup final glory last season, has six months left on his current deal and the Blues would have to pay around £30,000 to the Edinburgh club where he signed from, if he is given a new deal Craig, who will be 19 on December 27, said: “I signed nearly three years ago and I'm delighted to be with a club like Ipswich.

By Derek Davis

LIAM Craig last night dismissed suggestions that a compensation package due to Hearts has stopped him winning a professional contract at Ipswich Town.

The reserve team skipper, who captained the Academy side to FA Youth Cup final glory last season, has six months left on his current deal and the Blues would have to pay around £30,000 to the Edinburgh club where he signed from, if he is given a new deal

Craig, who will be 19 on December 27, said: “I signed nearly three years ago and I'm delighted to be with a club like Ipswich.


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“My aim is to get in the team and any compensation costs is between the two clubs.

“I don't think it is an issue. Hopefully I will get my chance and when I do it is up to me to stay in the squad.

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“I'm here until May and if it takes until then to be offered a contract then fine, if I don't get one then fine.

“Ipswich has been brilliant to me over the past three years and I have a lot to give back to the club and be grateful for.

“Playing in the reserves gives me a platform as the gaffer is at most of the games and I have scored in a couple of them.”

Craig had a penalty saved by Scottish international keeper Paul Gallagher on Monday as he helped the Blues reserves cruise comfortably past Norwich City 3-0. He has netted nine goals this season, seven in seven games for the Academy earlier in the season and one in the reserves' 8-1 win over Watford and again in the 4-2 win at Charlton.

He added: “I didn't have my best game on Monday but I feel I have been playing well recently and hopefully I will get my first team chance soon.

“The manager has been great with me. He has been telling me what I need to work on so I need to keep working on that on the training ground and try and get in his plans.”

Although money is tight at the club, Blues boss Joe Royle also played down paying out compensation being a big factor in his decision.

He said: “We regularly pay out money to clubs where players have originated from. The Irish lads are examples so that is not an issue.

“Craig has been doing very well and was close to the first team. Unfortunately he plays in a position where we now have plenty of options. With Jaime Peters now starting to acclimatise after a dip and Dean Bowditch more recognised as being a wide attacking player than an out-and-out striker, it has worked against Liam.

“That is not to say when it comes to making that decision we will not come down on his side because he has done well at Ipswich.”

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