Canaries set to swoop for Bruce

NORWICH City are ready to test Ipswich Town's resolve and make another move to sign Alex Bruce when he becomes free to talk to other clubs next month.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

NORWICH City are ready to test Ipswich Town's resolve and make another move to sign Alex Bruce when he becomes free to talk to other clubs next month.

The Canaries have already sounded out the possibility of capturing Norwich-born Bruce who is out of contract in the summer and who has already been told he will not be offered a new deal before next march/April.

Although Town boss Jim Magilton, already under fire from supporters, will not want to sell the central defender in the January window, he has admitted Town will listen to offers for Bruce and owner Marcus Evans would rather cash in than allow the 24-year-old to leave for nothing next summer.

Although Bruce has made it clear he does not want to leave Ipswich, his hand is being forced as he looks to secure his future and even if Town forced him to stay until the end of the season he could sign a pre-contract to join another club and be assured of a place with his new club in the summer.

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Bruce is one of 14 players whose contracts expire in the summer and not one of the eight players who attended a meeting with the boss less than 48 hours before the defeat at Norwich, where he was outstanding.

Only one out-of-contract player - goalkeeper Shane Supple - was present and the players are understood to have been told by Magilton that they are the ones he hopes to build his team around next season - infuriating some of the players who were not present.

Although Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder played down reports of City's interest reported by the EADT last month, sources in Norfolk are confident that there is genuine interest and an approach was made to bring the son of former Canaries defender Steve Bruce to Carrow Road in the New Year.

He will face competition as Fiorentina have been interested in taking him to Italy, while Leeds, Burnley, Barnsley and Preston have all been mentioned.

The City manager, who faces the possibility of losing up to three on-loan defenders and two strikers within a matter of weeks, has also been linked with Coventry's Elliott Ward who will line up against the Blues at the Ricoh Stadium tomorrow.

Bruce will be one of three players suspended for that trip with Ben Thatcher and Owen Garvan also staying at home as they each serve a one-match ban.

David Wright will return at left back after a chest infection, while Richard Naylor will keep his place in defence alongside Gareth McAuley who has got over his knocks picked up in the home defeat by Cardiff City, while David Norris is expected to keep his place in midfield, although Tommy Miller could also come back in.

City are likely to make just one change with Michael Mifsud back after a spell of food poisoning.

Stephen Wright and Leon McKenzie came through a Tuesday practice match unscathed but the game is probably a bit too soon for them so they'll probably be on the bench.