D-Day on Thursday for Fuller
RICARDO Fuller will find out on Thursday if he will be allowed to play for Ipswich Town.The Southampton striker, who joined the Blues on loan on Friday but had to be pulled out of the Town squad playing at Wolves hours later, has returned to St Mary's while the red tape is being unravelled.
By Derek Davis
RICARDO Fuller will find out on Thursday if he will be allowed to play for Ipswich Town.
The Southampton striker, who joined the Blues on loan on Friday but had to be pulled out of the Town squad playing at Wolves hours later, has returned to St Mary's while the red tape is being unravelled.
The Blues have applied for a work permit so the Jamaican can start his loan spell officially and play for Town against Leicester City on Saturday.
Club officials will travel to Sheffield on Thursday to plead their case to the Work Permits UK in what would be an unprecedented move.
It is understood that no player has ever been granted a permit to play for another club for a loan spell, but the Blues will test that.
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The Football League and the Football Association approved Fuller's move and it was widely assumed by both clubs, the player, his agent and the football authorities that any permit granted to a player applied when he went out on loan because he was still officially employed by the parent club.
Southampton still hold Fuller's registration and he is still their employee. His move to Ipswich could benefit the Saints by giving him regular playing time, which could help him find form and improve his chances of getting back into George Burley's side.The anomaly was spotted when an official at Work Permits UK questioned the validity of Fuller's move, despite a number of players making similar temporary switches in the past.
The Fuller case could open a can of worms and have officials at a few clubs sweating.
Alexie Smertin, the Russian who signed for Chelsea from Bordeaux, and then went straight out on loan to Portsmouth and now Charlton, would be a current player who may not bear too much scrutiny.
Likewise, Stern John, the Trinidad & Tobago international, did not get a separate permit to go out on loan to Derby from Coventry last September.
Blues boss Joe Royle last night admitted he was already looking at contingency plans if the Fuller hearing did not go in Town's favour.
He said: “There were only really two strikers I wanted and they were Alan Lee and Ricardo. That said, I have been keeping an eye on a couple of other players just in case and I will be making a couple of preliminary phone calls to managers in the next day or so.”
Town will be without three midfielders for Saturday's game with Leicester City, who last night added Ray Graydon to their coaching set-up.
Gavin Williams is out for a month with a knee problem, Jimmy Juan up to three weeks with a groin injury and Jaime Peters' sore knee sustained at Wolves on Saturday could see him out of action for a fortnight.