Gills in for Blues defender

NEWLY promoted Gillingham are looking at securing recently released Ipswich Town defender Chris Casement.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

NEWLY promoted Gillingham are looking at securing recently released Ipswich Town defender Chris Casement.

The 22-year-old, who will make his full Northern Ireland debut against Italy in Pisa tonight, is a target for the League One side that went up via the play-offs last month.

The Gills plan to talk to Casement when he returns from international duty and have also shown an interest in Blues defender Dan Harding and attacker Dean Bowditch.

Casement impressed while he was on loan at Wycombe Wanderers last season but manager Peter Taylor has two contracted right backs on his books anyway and so felt he could not offer Casement a deal.

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Northern Ireland coach Nigel Worthington has called Casement and the rest his youthful squad to prove they deserve a place in his future plans by impressing against world champions Italy tomorrow.

Regular defender Gareth McAuley is recovering from a knee injury but would not have played for Ireland anyway as he is in Ulster today for his sister's wedding.

Worthington is to give at least four members of his 18-man squad their senior debuts in tonight's friendly match in Pisa and says it is up to them to make a good impression and give him a selection headache for the future.

"For some of the youngsters, this is a great opportunity and a challenge," he said.

"Steve Carson and Colin Coates are getting a start and it is great for them and for Irish league players.

"When it comes to picking a senior group, you possibly look at 18 to 22 or 23 players and, while there are the mainstays, there are two or three positions where people can work their way into the group.'

Worthington has confirmed that all 18 members of his squad are fit and available while Casement, Colin Coates, Stephen Carson and Corry Evans will make their debuts from the beginning.

He said: “It is up to them to take the bull by the horns.”

Casement could well be up against Billy Clarke next season as he is on the verge of signing for League Two champions Brentford.

Meanwhile, Scunthorpe have not given up hope of persuading Ipswich midfielder Liam Trotter to return to Glanford Park next season.

The 20-year-old spent the last three months of the season on loan at the Iron but has since returned to the Blues, who have offered him a new contract.

Scunthorpe have also made Trotter an offer and manager Nigel Adkins is hopeful he will opt to return north.

"We know Ipswich have offered Liam a new deal but he knows there is something for him here too.

"It's up to him to decide where his future is.

"The situation is a bit delicate at the moment but I have had a further talk with his agent and hopefully the door is still open for us."

Should Trotter decide to sign for Scunthorpe the matter could be put before a Football League tribunal as he is under 24.