Ipswich Town must stay in the promotion mix for three more games before Marcus Evans will consider funding a big-money loan signing

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans continues to take a risk adverse approach to the transfer market as the club’s Championship promotion rivals go for broke.

The EADT and Ipswich Star understands that manager Mick McCarthy has been told that he will only be able to bolster his injury hit squad with expensive loan signings if his faltering side can emerge from the next three fixtures – Middlesbrough (a), Bolton (h), Watford (a) – still in the top-six mix.

Town have seen their best shot at promotion in a decade fade dramatically in 2015, the team dropping from second to seventh in the table.

Their return of 11 points from a possible 30 is the worst form out of the nine sides all still competing in a nail-bitingly close dogfight at the top, though plenty of others are also showing signs of nerves setting in.

The stakes are high; a bumper new television deal, increased Premier League parachute payments and Financial Fair Play rules meaning the next two years are seen as a golden window for teams to get promoted to the top-flight or risk being left behind.

Having seen millions squandered on transfer fees and wages by previous bosses Roy Keane and Paul Jewell, current manager Mick McCarthy has worked minor miracles after being restricted almost exclusively to free transfers, swaps and loans.

And it’s understood Evans – who has funded mid-season moves for Freddie Sears (£100k) and Chris Wood (loan) – is not prepared to take a large financial gamble with 10 games still to go.

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That will worry supporters. With the likes of Luke Hyam, Darren Ambrose, Kevin Bru, Teddy Bishop, Stephen Hunt, David McGoldrick and Noel Hunt all injured of late, just 17 outfield first team players were available for last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Brentford.

A lack of creative spark continues to be a concern after recent attempts to sign winger Anthony Knockaert on loan fell through due to the player’s change of heart.

The sort of player that McCarthy feels would make a difference at this juncture would not come cheap though. Relegation-threatened Wigan may be prepared to loan out key men such as James McClean and Martyn Waghorn over the coming weeks, but at the cost of a sizeable loan fee and wages.

Meanwhile, by contrast, fourth-place Middlesbrough are reportedly close to signing striker Jordan Rhodes on loan from cash-strapped Blackburn with view to a big money summer switch. The 25-year-old former Kesgrave High School pupil, controversially sold by Keane in 2009, could face his boyhood club in Saturday’s televised clash at the Riverside (12.15pm ko).

The ‘emergency’ loan window shuts on Thursday, March 26, five days after Town’s match at Watford and two days before an international weekend.