Magilton could shed up to half his squad

BLUES boss Jim Magilton could shed half his squad - starting with shipping a few out during this January transfer window, as he looks to push for Premier League promotion.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Jim Magilton could shed half his squad - starting with shipping a few out during this January transfer window, as he looks to push for Premier League promotion.

Magilton has already made his first move in the market by trying to add David Norris to his squad but even though he has cash to spend from the Marcus Evans take over he will also be looking to clear the decks.

From his 32-man squad listed in the match-day programme more than half could in theory move out by August.

George O'Callaghan, Sito Castro, Richard Naylor, Sylvain Legwinski, Fabian Wilnis, Jason de Vos, Dan Harding, Chris Casement, Michael Synnott, Ian Miller, Sammy Moore and Dean Bowditch are all out of contract in the summer.

Gary Roberts, Matt Richards and Jaime Peters look surplus to requirements, while one or two other players who are not getting a game may look for first-team action elsewhere.

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Some players have already been told they can look elsewhere, but Matt Richards and George O'Callaghan rejected the chance to rejoin Brighton on loan.

QPR are understood to be among the English clubs interested in O'Callaghan, who still wants to play for Ipswich, but would consider a move back to Ireland with Bohemians, topping the list of clubs coveting him there.

Dean Bowditch impressed Northampton with a goal in their draw against Millwall and the Cobblers may look to make things more permanent.

Magilton will be keen to keep a number of senior players although may wait to see which division Town are going to be playing in next season.

Skipper Jason De Vos is expected to be offered a new deal soon, but there is uncertainty about Legwinski, who has had an injury- hit season.

Sito Castro has gone from 'zero' to 'hero' and, after being told he can go, may have dome enough to change the manager's mind.

More immediate departures are expected to be Roberts going on loan, perhaps back to Accrington Stanley, but it is known Magilton is keen to recoup most of the £220,000 he has paid for him.

Peters and Casement are being offered out on loan, while Magilton has to decide on what to do with Moore and Miller if he brings them back from loan spells.

Naylor, the club's longest-serving player, has also had an injury-hit season but will be looking for at least another year, while Magilton has publicly said Harding remains in is plans even though he has not been included in the final 16 in five of the past six games.

One or two fringe players may get a run out in the FA Cup against Portsmouth on Saturday, although O'Callaghan and Richards are both cup-tied.

Town's thrilling 2-0 home win over league leaders West Brom on Tuesday has prompted renewed interest in the cup-tie with the Blues ticket office busier than usual yesterday and a crowd of more than 20,000 is now expected against Harry Redknapp's side.