Elliott to stay for play-off push

MATT Elliott will stay with Ipswich Town all the time they are in with a play-off hope. Although the deal has not been formally signed, Blues boss Joe Royle has a tacit agreement with the Leicester City defender that he will extend his loan spell.

MATT Elliott will stay with Ipswich Town all the time they are in with a play-off hope. Although the deal has not been formally signed, Blues boss Joe Royle has a tacit agreement with the Leicester City defender that he will extend his loan spell, writes Derek Davis.

The only three factors that would prevent Elliott from staying would be if Town had no chance of finishing in the top six, if the Foxes recalled him for their Premiership run-in or he was injured.

The 35-year-old defender is still available for the games against Wimbledon, West Brom, Rotherham and Sunderland, so the agreement would be formalised next month in time for him to play against Gillingham, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Cardiff, then the play-off games, should Town qualify.

Blues boss Joe Royle said: "While we are in contention for the play-offs he is happy here and is enjoying the football. If we were not in contention for the play-offs, then that is another consideration.


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"The arrangement suits us, Matt and Leicester but if there is an injury crisis there they can take him back at any time after the first month.

"At the moment he is very happy here and we have a nodding agreement that he will stay as long as we need him."

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Elliott will line up alongside John McGreal in central defence tomorrow as The Blues stay unchanged for the trip to Wimbledon.

The Dons' 1-0 defeat to Millwall on Wednesday was their 10th successive loss and they have now gone seven games without scoring a goal.

Of the 16 Wimbledon players on the team-sheet that night not one player has scored this season. But Royle dismissed any thoughts that Town will be able to just go to the National Hockey Stadium and rack up their goal difference.

He warned: "I would settle for a 1-0 win now and that won't be easy. Stuart Murdoch has done a terrific job in impossible circumstances.

"Tony Mowbray watched them on Wednesday and reported back saying although Millwall were always better than Wimbledon, they never stopped trying. So Stuart is fostering a great team spirit there."

The Dons stunned high-flying West Brom by beating them at the Hawthorns but Royle is happy with the way Town have been playing of late.

He said: "We have seen so many times in this division this season where there have been so many shock results.

"At the same time we are capable of beating anyone in this division.

"We have had five good performances and have had a break in the last two games which we have won."

While the starting XI will be the same there will be at least one change on the bench with Drissa Diallo suspended. His place could be taken by Georges Santos, although Martijn Reuser and Chris Bart-Williams are also fit again and looking to be involved.

Richard Naylor will have another week's enforced rest as he recovers from a broken toe but is expected to resume training next week. Pablo Counago is still struggling with a hamstring injury while Chris Makin will need the rest of this season to get over a hip operation to repair a torn cartilage.

Dean Lewington returns for Wimbledon after suspension while new signing Gary Smith from Middlesbrough is likely to make his first start after going on as a substitute on Wednesday.

* Paul Goddard, who recently left West Ham, has rejoined the Ipswich Town staff in a scouting capacity.

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