Grande vows to return

A DISAPPOINTED Sandro Grande has been told he will not be playing in the Championship with Ipswich Town – but has vowed to make his mark in England, writes Derek Davis.

A DISAPPOINTED Sandro Grande has been told he will not be playing in the Championship with Ipswich Town – but has vowed to make his mark in England, writes Derek Davis.

The Canadian international last night revealed to the EADT that Blues boss Joe Royle is looking for wide midfielders and Grande feels he is better suited to a central midfield role and so will not be joining Town after all.

After spending two weeks on trial, Grande played for Ipswich in a behind-closed-doors game yesterday afternoon, which Colchester United reserves won 2-1 with goals from Gareth Williams and Jamie Cade.

Grande said: "Considering I have not played in a month, I felt it went well but I was not at my sharpest and when you are trying to impress you need to be at your best.

"I'm happy that Joe Royle has said that I could easily play in this division. That is what going on trial is all about.

"You need to be fit, you need to be 100%, but unfortunately, as I had been off for three weeks before I got here, I wasn't at 100%.

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"The first week was tough but, considering all that, I'm satisfied with how it went. The lads were fantastic with me and I enjoyed it.

"Mind you, I did wonder why I was always playing out wide in practice games and training and I don't think I'm really quick enough on the wings."

Grande will now return to Canada to play against Guatemala in a World Cup qualifying match, although the Canucks have no chance of progressing to the next stage, which is why their skipper Jason De Vos is staying with Ipswich and won't be travelling.

Former Brescia midfielder Grande, who recently helped Montreal Impact win the A League Championship, then hopes to return to England later in the month and spend time with at least one Championship side on trial. Wigan and Stoke are among the cubs that have shown an interest in having a look at the 27-year-old, who is relishing the opportunity to play in the Championship.

He said: "Ipswich is an awesome club and I hope I can find another club that is equipped like Ipswich is and has aspirations to at least not be among the relegation zones.

"Even if I can find a club that is in the middle of the pack looking to make the play-offs that would suit me at the moment.

"I'm disappointed not be joining a club that is second in the table. It would have been a great joy to play in a team like this, especially the way Ipswich play, but maybe I can find another squad that play in a similar way.

"On the other hand, I'm happy with my first time in England. To get such positive feedback off someone as respected and experienced as Joe Royle, who is ready to recommend me and has said good things about me, then hopefully it will only be a matter of time to find the right club and I will be back.

"Maybe I will get the chance to play against Ipswich later in the season."

Although born in Quebec, Grande has Italian parents, which gives him an EU passport and other European leagues appear to be more able to utilise him immediately as Town were told he could not play until the transfer window opened in January.

He said: "It is strange because I have been given calls from Italian clubs saying I could play straight away.

"The Championship in North America is finished. We don't have six-month contracts so my contract is up and won't resume again until May. Montreal have said there is no problem in releasing my forms so that I could play."

Even so Grande would prefer to play in England, although not necessarily below Championship standard.

He said: "At this stage it is not what I'm looking for. If I was younger then I would be prepared to start lower and work my way up but that is not really an option financially for me now.

"I could easily go back to Italy and earn more and make an impact but that is not what I want. Right now I'm looking for the right English club or, perhaps, even to try in Germany."

Meanwhile, Pablo Counago has rejected the opportunity to join Preston North End on loan. The Spaniard was given the chance to fill the gap left by David Healy, who will be lining up for Leeds United against Town in a potential sell-out at Portman Road on Saturday.

Counago is determined to stay and fight to regain a starting place at promotion challenging Ipswich.

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