De Vos targets automatic promotion

JASON De Vos has targeted automatic promotion for next season after signing a new deal that keeps him at Portman Road until 2008.Fellow Blue Fabian Wilnis will pen his new contract tomorrow after agreeing terms to extend his stay with the Blues for another year, having originally signed in December 1998 for £200,000 from de Graafschap.

By Derek Davis

JASON De Vos has targeted automatic promotion for next season after signing a new deal that keeps him at Portman Road until 2008.

Fellow Blue Fabian Wilnis will pen his new contract tomorrow after agreeing terms to extend his stay with the Blues for another year, having originally signed in December 1998 for £200,000 from de Graafschap.

With the defensive duo now sorted out and Dean McDonald told officially on Tuesday that he will not be kept on, Joe Royle's squad for next season is almost known, with a couple of fresh additions planned for the summer.


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Jay McEveley could make his move from Blackburn permanent after recovering from an ankle injury, while the Blues will look to sign Ricardo Fuller from Southampton, but much depends on what budget Royle has to play with - and that won't be determined until after season ticket sales can be accurately gauged and other avenues for income fully developed.

It is the optimistic outlook that the Blues have regarding their squad, with no pressure to sell any of their developing talent, plus the warmth of the club and this part of East Anglia as an area, that persuaded De Vos to sign his new one-year extension, on top of the year he already has remaining on his current deal.

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Not that he took much persuading.

De Vos said: “Everything was agreed in one meeting in one morning. I have said many times that this club is the best I have played for. It encapsulates everything good about the game from the players, the manager, chairman and director and the supporters.“We have wonderful facilities here and Portman Road is a terrific stadium. This is a Premiership club in everything but name.

“If we don't go up this season via the play-offs - and we have not given up hope yet - then the future is very positive.

“I have been assured that we don't need to sell players and the club is in a very good position that is ready to go from strength to strength.

“All the youngsters are on contracts and I have no doubt the manager will build on the squad in the summer.”

Although nothing has been said officially, it is expected De Vos will take over as club captain from Jim Magilton, who has vowed to leave when his contract expires in the summer.

De Vos is thrilled at the prospect of Town improving on this season, which started so badly for him and the team. He broke his ribs and the team was in the bottom half of the table until the turn of the year.

De Vos said: “Our target was to reach the play-offs and we will be disappointed if we don't. If we had played in the first half as we have since Christmas then we would be in those automatic places right now. This team will only get better and my target for next season if we don't go up this time is automatic promotion.”

De Vos won the player-of-the-month award jointly with Wilnis for March and his form of late has once again attracted interest from the Premiership but the Canadian is not having his head turned.

He said: “If I felt I had a better opportunity I would have left but I don't feel that, which is why I signed up. As a footballer and as a person I'm really excited by what is happening at Ipswich.

“As for stories linking me with other clubs, well it is all very flattering but I don't really take any notice.”

One player De Vos is excited about is fellow defender Chris Casement, who made his debut at Crystal Palace recently and his home bow last Saturday against Hull City. The 18-year-old Irishman signed his new two-year deal yesterday.

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