Guessing games continue

ANTICIPATING moves in the transfer market is nothing more than a guessing game in May and early June. Yet Ipswich Town's supporters have been warned to brace themselves for departures.

ANTICIPATING moves in the transfer market is nothing more than a guessing game in May and early June. Yet Ipswich Town's supporters have been warned to brace themselves for departures.

If the club are to lower their wage bill, essential over the next couple of years, they will be looking to the likes of Matt Holland, Marcus Bent, Martijn Reuser and Andy Marshall to move on.

As to whether this will happen is quite another matter. It seems more likely that transfer fees can be raised for one or two of the younger players such as striker Darren Bent and left-back Matt Richards.

Darren Bent is said to be attracting the interest of both Newcastle United and Southampton. He is a natural young goalscorer so will remain an asset.


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Bent's agent Jonathan Barnett has had many dealings involving Ipswich Town in the past, including the sale of goalkeeper Richard Wright to Arsenal.

Bent is in England's Under-21 squad to face Serbia & Montenegro at Hull City's smart new ground tonight. The match is being shown live on Sky Sports 1, starting from 7pm.

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Richards is seen as a replacement for England international Wayne Bridge who may move on despite the fact that Southampton manager Gordon Strachan has expressed a wish to keep him.

The situation with regard to club captain Holland is interesting. A year ago he was happy to stay at Portman Road despite an offer from Aston Villa.

In the meantime former England manager Terry Venables, now a newspaper pundit, wrote: "I did notice Matt Holland's performance for the Republic of Ireland suffering because Ipswich were no longer in the Premier League."

If Holland feels that his international future might be jeopardised by playing another season in the Nationwide League he might decide to move on.

Aston Villa, with Graham Taylor replaced by David O'Leary, may no longer be interested.

Town boss Joe Royle, currently on holiday but on call at short notice should he be needed, is still waiting to hear whether Jim Magilton and Fabian Wilnis will accept new but reduced contracts.

Both these players were offered free transfers a year ago but attracted no interest because of their contracts which had a year to run. Now they are free agents.

Paul Mariner, back in a brief visit from the United States, was at Newmarket races on Friday together with Mick Mills.

The two former England and Ipswich Town stars have ideas of players who might do Ipswich some good in the future.

Mills, whose most recent post in football was as No. 2 to Trevor Francis at Birmingham City, has now branched out into the business of being a players' agent.

Mariner has sent some young Americans to the Ipswich Town Academy and thinks that at least one might make the grade.

In the meantime those trying to anticipate Ipswich Town signings will be sifting through the list of players currently available on a Bosman free transfer. All sorts of names might crop up.

tony.garnett@eadt.co.uk

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