Ex-England skippers lure Town duo

THE lure of two former England captains has persuaded a pair of Ipswich Town stars to make a move away from Portman Road.Alun Armstrong will sign on loan for Bryan Robson's Bradford City in time for their trip to Coventry City on Sunday.

THE lure of two former England captains has persuaded a pair of Ipswich Town stars to make a move away from Portman Road, writes Derek Davis.

Alun Armstrong will sign on loan for Bryan Robson's Bradford City in time for their trip to Coventry City on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Matt Bloomfield has agreed an 18-month contract with recently appointed Wycombe Wanderers boss Tony Adams.

Although a free transfer, Ipswich have negotiated 'a significant sell-on fee' should Bloomfield be sold on.

The 19-year-old trained with Wanderers on Friday and again yesterday and is expected to complete the paperwork on his new deal today in time to make his debut at Brighton on Boxing Day.

Bloomfield admitted former Arsenal and England captain Adams was a big influence in him choosing Wanderers over a number of other suitors, including Norwich City.

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Bloomfield exclusively told the EADT last night: “Tony Adams was a big factor in me joining Wycombe. As soon as I heard he was interested in me I wanted to join. The chance to learn from someone with such a stature and knowledge of the game was too much.

“I can't wait to get advice from him and Peter Cawley, who is a terrific guy.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for me to show I can play at this level. I know in myself I can do well. I have 18 months but I want to show in the next few months that I'm worth an even better deal.”

A lifelong Town fan who first attended a session as an eight-year-old, Bloomfield signed for the club when he was 12 and vows to remain a Blues supporter.

He said: “I was at the derby game on Sunday and it really hurt. I will always be a Blue no matter what.

“I owe everything to this club, to everyone at the Academy. From Bryan Klug, Ian Smith, Helen Broughton and many more they have been fantastic to me.

“It hurt when I was told I was not going to make it here but in a way it could be the best thing that could happen, although it will be a wrench to leave.”

Former Colchester United skipper Peter Cawley is a coach at The Causeway Stadium and is a regular watcher of the Blues' reserves. Bloomfield has been second string skipper for many games recently and put in some impressive performances.

With so many midfielders at Portman Road, Bloomfield has found it difficult to breakthrough, although he made his first-team debut at Notts County in the Carling Cup earlier this season.

Blues boss Royle wished Bloomfield well and added: “Matt has found his way blocked by Ian Westlake, who has really come on, and we have Antonio Murray coming through as well. Matt's a smashing lad and this is a great opportunity for him.”

The skilful and combative England Under-19 player has also been interesting Norwich City, Boston United and Sheffield Wednesday.

Meanwhile the Blues have agreed to allow Armstrong to go on an initial one-month loan deal and the Town striker last night held talks with Bantams boss Bryan Robson before making his mind up to join his former Middlesbrough boss at Valley Parade.

Armstrong will be allowed to spend time with his family over Christmas before linking up with City on Saturday.

He will continue to train with his Town team-mates but will looking to step up his finishing touches after recovering from a gashed leg.

Royle said: “This is a good chance for Alun to go to Bradford and win himself a contract. There is no doubt he has the talent, he just needs to be playing regular football once again and get himself back on track.”

Armstrong has been given permission to play for Bradford in their FA Cup tie with Wigan Athletic and the timing of the move also means he would be available for the fourth round tie should City progress.

City boss Bryan Robson said: “We need some strength up front and Alun has a proven record of scoring goals at this level.”

This will be the second time former England captain Robson has signed Armstrong after taking him from Stockport County to Middlesbrough in a £1.6m move.

Meanwhile, Richard Naylor (ankle) and John McGreal (knee) are slight doubts for the trip to West Ham on Friday.

Chris Makin successfully came through an operation to release a trapped nerve yesterday but is still expected to be out for six to eight weeks.

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