McAuley unhappy with how contract talks have gone

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell faces a fight to keep key defender Gareth McAuley at Portman Road.

With the 31-year-old central defender unhappy with the way his new contract talks have been handled Jewell has an early problem to solve as he settles into his new position as Blues manager.

Jewell was officially appointed Roy Keane’s successor yesterday, but will not take over the reins fully until Thursday leaving Ian McParland and Tony Loughlan to again run the side for tomorrow’s Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal at a near full house Portman Road.

McAuley is certain to feature having caught the eye of a number of good judges as the only Town player to come through the 7-0 mauling at Chelsea on Sunday with any real credit.

His current contract ends in June, and he is known to be attracting the interested of a number of clubs.

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“It’s a funny one,” said McAuley today.

“And it should have been sorted out last summer.

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“Ipswich turned down a couple of offers for me, and if they were keen to keep me they should have offered me a new deal then instead of letting it drag on for months.

“I was eventually offered a two year contract four weeks ago, but it was not right for me and I told the club with the ball now back in their court.

“There have been further discussions, but we don’t seem any further forward.

“I’m happy here, but I have got to look after number one at this stage of my career.

“There is no way I look at the grass being greener on the other side of the fence and I’m not after silly money.

“The contract offer is not right at the moment.”

McAuley revealed in the Evening Star on Saturday that he believed some players had not been pulling their weight under Keane and were not disappointed to see him go.

McAuley was one who was disappointed at Keane’s departure and it remains to be seen whether a change at the top will affect where his future lies - and that of skipper David Norris who will also run out of contract in June with negotiations continuing.

“Roy Keane came after me a few times, but only because I deserved it and it wasn’t scary,” explained McAuley.

“He did his job, but lost out when he lost characters in the dressing room like Jon Walters for a big fee and Jon Stead, who wanted to stay but money talked.”

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