Ipswich Town did explore potential Jonny Williams loan loophole

Jonny Williams, pictured during his time at Ipswich Town earlier this season. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Jonny Williams, pictured during his time at Ipswich Town earlier this season. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town did explore a potential loophole that would have allowed them to get Jonny Williams back on loan before tonight’s deadline but did not receive approval from the Football League.

The talented Crystal Palace midfielder – who proved a popular figure at Portman Road during an initial loan spell at the back end of the 2013/14 campaign – returned for another temporary switch last September, only to see the move prematurely cut short by injury following a crude challenge by Watford’s Joel Ekstrand.

Football League rules state that a player cannot join the same club on an ‘emergency’ loan twice in the same season, but Town asked whether the initial loan deal – which was cut short at 41 days – could simply be resumed, Williams having recently returned to full training following several injury set-backs.

“We had an initial discussion with the Football League to see if there was the possibility of getting him back for the balance of the 93-day loan that he didn’t initially complete,” confirmed Town managing director Ian Milne.

“The Football League haven’t approved that, but even if they had that’s not to say it would have happened – Mick would have had to decide whether he was fit enough and whether he wanted to do it. As a club we did ask the question though.”

This paper understands that Blues owner Marcus Evans – who has already funded mid-season deals for Freddie Sears, Noel Hunt, Chris Wood, Luke Varney and Richard Chaplow – wanted to ensure that the team was still in the thick of the Championship promotion mix come the end of March before he gambled on bankrolling further new recruits.

Back-to-back wins against Bolton and Watford have ensured that is the case, Town moving back into the play-off places with seven games to go, and pacy Arsenal teenage striker Chuba Akpom is one player that has been under consideration.

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However, the impressive form of Varney, returning match sharpness of Wood and a rapidly clearing injury list means the Blues boss has decided against adding to a tight-knit squad whose success has been heavily built on togetherness and spirit.

“Mick and his staff are always looking at all opportunities, but nothing is live at the moment,” confirmed Milne.

– See Saturday’s EADT paper for full interview.