Fuller returns to Saints

RICARDO Fuller has left Ipswich Town and returned to Southampton a week early after failing to have his red card overturned.The Jamaican international was last night back on the south coast facing a two-match ban but could still return to Portman Road next season.

By Derek Davis

RICARDO Fuller has left Ipswich Town and returned to Southampton a week early after failing to have his red card overturned.

The Jamaican international was last night back on the south coast facing a two-match ban but could still return to Portman Road next season.

Fuler was shown a red card for making an obscene gesture to Palace fans in the 2-2 draw on Saturday, and after just serving a one-match ban for picking up his fifth booking in the 2-0 win over Leciester City, would have missed the games against Hull City and Luton Town if he had stayed.


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Fuller's initial month's loan was due to expire after the home game with Hull City but Royle had already expressed a desire to keep him for longer if finances permitted.

Blues boss Joe Roye considered appealing but was advised there was no point and so last night told Fuller they could not justify keeping him on.

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Royle said: “I explained the situation to Ricardo and he has gone back to Southampton, which is sad but it had to be done.

“I spoke to the FA and there was no real point in appealing because whether it was to the linesman or the crowd it would still be a one-match ban and with the booking he got against Leicester when Joey Gudjonsson got him sent off for play-acting, it turns into a two-match ban anyway.

"There would only be six games left after that and hopefully we will have Sam Parkin back, and possibly Nicky Forster, so we could not justify it.

"We really enjoyed having Ricardo here. A unique set of circumstances that could not have been predicted meant he could not play more. That has been the story of our season but hopfully that is the end of our mishaps now.”

There is little doubt that Town will revisit the situation again in the summer and rekindle their interest in Fuller, who scored two goals in his three games and was an instant hit with players and supporters alike.

Fuller last night told the EADT: “I really enjoyed my time at Ipswich, the fans were brilliant in the short time I was there and I hope that one day I can come back - who knows?”

With Fuller gone Alan Lee could be partnered by one of Town's exciting youngsters this weekend against Hull City with Billy Clarke pushing for a return to first-team action - and that would be Town's 21st different strike partnership for the season.

Royle has handed debuts to 18 different players already this season, although it is unlikely Mark Fish will get a tankard from the official supporters club for his 45 minutes at QPR.

Royle said: “Eighteen debuts says a lot about our season but the young players who have come in have done very well, as we saw with Chris Casement on Saturday.”

Clarke was part of a reserve side that was unfortunate to go down 1-0 at home to Chelsea last night.

Skipper Gerard Nash headed over in the opening moments while fellow centre back Casement was not far away with an overhead kick and Billy Clarke miscued with a left-footed effort.

Lewis Price tipped over from Jimmy Smith but neither keeper was troubled too much in an even first half.

Chelsea's Smith found the net with a stunning 25-yard free kick midway through the first half that crashed in off a post.

Town gave trialist Laurie Wilson, from the Charlton Academy, a run out in the second half in place of Scott Mitchell, who played well in front of two Boston United scouts who were running the rule over him, and a couple of other of Town's fringe players.

Ipswich Town Res: Price, Mitchell (Wilson, 67), McEveley, Skard, Casement, Nash, Peters (Leabon, 76), Lordan, McDonald, Clarke and Haynes (Knights, 50). Subs not used: Short and Petursson.

Chelsea Res: Ma-Kalambay, D. Smith, Elmer, Mancienne, Pettigrew, Grant, J Younghusband (Simmonds, 61), J. Smith, P. Younghusband, J. Simmonds (Bridcutt, 83) and Sinclair (Bertrand, 90). Subs not used: Hutchinson and Pidgeley.

n Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz last night ruled out the possibilty of 19-year-old American-born Italian international Guisseppe Rossi going out on loan, with Preston and Ipswich both linked to the youngster.

Royle told the EADT last month he was no longer interested in taking the striker.

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