Clarke could be Leeds target

BILLY Clarke could be the next player on his way out of Portman Road in a loan move.The teenage Blues striker is being lined up for a loan move to a League One club, with Leeds United understood to be among the interested parties, in order for him to play more games.

By Derek Davis

BILLY Clarke could be the next player on his way out of Portman Road in a loan move.

The teenage Blues striker is being lined up for a loan move to a League One club, with Leeds United understood to be among the interested parties, in order for him to play more games.

Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton is in talks with Clarke's agent about the player going out for an initial month, which could lead to something longer term.

With Danny Haynes back from suspension, and Dean Bowditch making good progress after his groin operation, Clarke's chances are even more limited, although he has played a part in the first team squad this season.

The 19-year-old from Cork, who enjoyed a loan spell during Colchester United's promotion push the season before last, has made six Town appearances this campaign, all from the bench.

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Magilton said: “Billy is very much part of the first team squad but if the right opportunity came along for him to be playing regular first-team football elsewhere for a month that would be beneficial to him - then I would allow him to go.”

Alan Lee, Pablo Counago and Jon Walters are ahead of him in the first-team pecking order.

Clarke is expected to be named along with Owen Garvan next week in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad that plays England in his home city next month.

The Blues have already shipped out George O'Callaghan and Matt Richards to Brighton, Ian Miller to Darlington and Sammy Moore to Brentford and are looking to move a number of other players.

An imminent return to Brighton is less likely now for Bowditch after the recent loan signing of Frenchman David Martot and improved performances by Jake Robinson.

The Ipswich striker impressed on loan last season but boss Dean Wilkins is playing down the prospect of Bowditch being reunited at the Seagulls with former Ipswich trio George O'Callaghan, Nicky Forster and Matt Richards.

Wilkins said: “We've brought in Martot now and Jake did very well the other night in the Reserve game against Crystal Palace and when he came on against Yeovil, so at the moment it has gone quiet on that one.

“Of course we are still aware of him and a fit Dean Bowditch is a very good player, so we will keep an eye on it still.”

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