Counago set for Palace on loan

IPSWICH TOWN: Crystal Palace manager George Burley is set to announce the loan signing of Blues’ out-of-favour striker Pablo Counago today.

But the Spaniard is not expected to be eligible for Saturday’s Championship game at Selhurst Park between the two clubs.

Burley said yesterday: “Pablo’s a good player and I’m aware that he’s currently out of the reckoning at Ipswich.

“But I’ve been waiting for the loan situation to pan out among Premier League clubs when they sort their squads down to 25 players.

“We’ll see what options there are in that area.”

Today he is believed to be on the point of clinching Counago’s signing - with how the position how the players wages are going to be proportioned out understood to have been amended.

Jon Stead, a player who has fought his way into the Town team, is still attracting interest from Bristol City. If better terms are forthcoming the front man could follow Jon Walters out of Portman Road.

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Walters’ departure to Premier League Stoke City yesterday on four-year deal for an initial �2.75million opens the way for Ipswich Town to intensify their search to bring in a proven striker.

To possibly sign a Michael Chopra or Jason Scotland-type and have change from the sale of Walters – a player they paid a total of �200,000 for – would be seen as great business by the Blues.

With Craig Bellamy swelling both the anticipated goal output and wage bill at Cardiff City, Keane’s original main target Chopra might now be on his way to Suffolk while having some extra cash to work with could swing a deal to bring Scotland from Wigan.

And Ross McCormack signing from Cardiff is another possible deal that is not dead.

Walters, who was told by Town boss Roy Keane that he would never play for the club again while the Irishman was in charge after a falling out last week, says that he is pleased to play for under a manager like Tony Pulis that has faith in him.

“It’s always good to know that a manager has faith in your ability to pay out a large sum of money, and that was certainly an influence on my decision to move to Stoke,” said Walters.

“It is the fulfilment of a long-term goal of mine to get back into the Premier League.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ipswich, especially being captain of the club, but this is an opportunity I have been working towards.”

Ipswich have no selling on fee to pay Chester where Walters was signed in January 2007 because the original Chester club has gone out of business.

Walters, 26, scored 32 goals in 146 games for Ipswich and Town chief executive Simon Clegg said: “I am sure our supporters will see that this is very good business for the club, one of the most significant transfer deals in the club’s history.

“Recognising that every player’s dream is to play in the Premier League we are delighted that Jon has achieved this goal and we thanks him for his hard work and wish him every success at his new club.”

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