Drissa puts Town first

DRISSA Diallo has put Ipswich Town ahead of international football and will not miss any Blues games due to call-ups by Guinea.The recently-signed defender from Burnley has been excused from the first three days of pre-season training as he is getting married in his homeland and not for footballing reasons, as has been reported elsewhere.

DRISSA Diallo has put Ipswich Town ahead of international football and will not miss any Blues games due to call-ups by Guinea.

The recently-signed defender from Burnley has been excused from the first three days of pre-season training as he is getting married in his homeland and not for footballing reasons, as has been reported elsewhere.

Blues boss Joe Royle last night confirmed Diallo had guaranteed his availability all season and agreed not to take part in the African Nations Cup.

He said: "This is something I checked with Drissa before signing him. He has told me he will not be involved in international football and will focus completely on Ipswich Town.

"He will be away next week as he had already arranged to be married in Guinea on July 5, but he will be back on the following Monday so he only misses a few days."

Diallo signed for Town earlier this month after rejecting an offer to stay at Burnley.

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The 30-year-old arrived at Turf Moor on a month-to-month contract after Belgian club Mechelen ran into financial difficulties and had to allow players to leave.

The impressive defender made his debut against Ipswich and won rave reviews, making a goal-line clearance and generally putting the block on the Town strike-force.

Royle has also allowed Darren Bent an extra week's holiday as he was involved with the England under-21s at the end of last season.

He said: "Darren is still growing and needs his rest. He gets fit very quickly so there are no concerns about him catching the others."

The rest of the squad will get together next Wednesday to prepare for the new season with Jim Magilton, Fabian Wilnis and Richard Naylor all due to sign new deals on Monday.

Royle said: "I can't wait. I've had a lovely break and I'm raring to go as I understand a lot of other people are too."

While Royle will concentrate on landing a new keeper within the next couple of weeks, Reading boss Alan Pardew is also beavering away in the transfer market.

The Royals have made a £200,000 bid for Birmingham City midfielder Paul Devlin after having two offers for Scott Murray rejected by Bristol City.

The Robins turned down an initial bid of £500,000 for Murray and have since said no to a cash-plus-player offer.

Adrian Viveash has left the Majdeski Stadium to join Sammy Igoe, who left last week to go down the M4 to Swindon Town.

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