McCann loves the north-west

GAVIN McCann's love for the north-west might scupper any potential move to Ipswich Town.

Carl Marston

GAVIN McCann's love for the north-west might scupper any potential move to Ipswich Town.

While Town have been linked with a possible approach for McCann, who is currently out-of-favour at Bolton Wanderers, the player himself would seem unlikely to make the switch to a Championship club in the south-east of the country.

A player of McCann's standing - an experienced central midfielder - would be a likely target for Town, who are short of a strong presence in the centre of the park.

Manager Roy Keane has tried different partners for lynchpin midfielder Grant Leadbitter, including Liam Trotter, Jack Colback and Alan Quinn, but the perfect partnership is still to be struck.

However, with David Norris on the comeback trail from a long-term knee injury, Keane will have options open to him before the Christmas period begins in earnest.

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And only last week, Keane admitted that he was unlikely to make any more signings, in the loan market, before the transfer window for permanent signings reopens in January. The player's substantial wages would also be an issue.

McCann has only made five appearances in the Premier League for Bolton this season, and three of these were as second-half substitutes. His last league start was a 1-1 draw against Stoke City on September 19, although he also made the starting line-up for the Carling Cup win over West Ham just three days later.

There is no doubt that Wanderers manager, Gary Megson, would be prepared to let McCann move on. The 31-year-old is neither part of his short-term plans, or his long-term strategy.

Portsmouth came in for the former Everton, Sunderland and Aston Villa stalwart last summer, with Pompey boss Paul Hart desperate to bolster his squad before the transfer window closed.

But although Portsmouth made a bid for McCann, the player himself expressed a desire to stay in the north-west. He was born in Blackpool and still has strong roots in this part of the country.

That position would seem unlikely to have changed, unless McCann, who has since dropped down the pecking order at the Reebok Stadium, is now keen to play regular football again.

Meanwhile, Town are currently at the start of a two-week break for internationals. Their next game is the televised home fixture against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, November 21 (kick-off 5.20pm).

Michael Gray, who was named the Owls' player-of-the-month for October, has missed their last two games with a hamstring injury, but is targeting a return for the trip to Portman Road.

Elsewhere, Jaime Peters will be in action for Canada during the two-week break for internationals. The versatile Peters, who can operate as a winger or full-back, has joined up with his Canadian team-mates for the friendlies against Macedonia on November 14, and Poland four days later.

But Town team-mate Gareth McAuley has been withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad, due to the thigh injury that has caused him to miss the last two matches against Derby and Reading.