Norris doubts taking edge off big game - Town legend

IPSWICH Town Carling Cup lucky charm Kevin Beattie today says that concerns over the futures of skipper David Norris and key defender Gareth McAuley are taking the gloss of tonight’s Carling Cup semi-final second leg at Arsenal (kick-off 7.45pm).

“I’m on edge about it, and I know that other fans are as well,” said Beattie, who will be working for BBC Radio Suffolk as he has for every round of the Carling Cup this season from the first round game at Exeter back on August 10.

“They are both vital players and should have been sorted out with new contracts before Christmas.

“Both are important players – as important as each other – and are vital cogs in the team.

“The younger players in the squad will look up to them and if they were to leave – or there was talk of them leaving – then heads would go down.

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“With around �1 million likely to be made from Ipswich’s recent cup exploits some of this should be put towards Norris and McAuley.

“Ipswich have got to keep them, and it is obvious that Portsmouth are keen to take David to Fratton Park and Gareth could be excused for feeling unsettled as well about what is going on.”

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Town manager Paul Jewell has again stressed that he wants to keep both Norris and McAuley, and there has been confirmation from Norris that he would like to stay.

But there is no doubt that Pompey are going all out to sign Norris before the transfer window closes next Monday with manager Steve Cotterill saying that Norris wants to join his club.

“David hasn’t told me that he wants to join Portsmouth,” said Jewell. “I’ve spoken to Steve about different things that should be kept under wraps.

“I’m under no rush and under no pressure to move players out and I want to keep the better ones here.

“Our chief executive has spoken top Portsmouth I belief but I cannot say whether we have turned down a �250,000 bid.

“I want David and Gareth to be committed and will sit down with talk to them and if a player wants to stay we will endeavour to keep them.”

Jewell revealed that he has two bids currently on the table to bring in newcomers and he did not rule out of them being Luton Town midfielder Andy Drury.

“I’m interested in lots of players and you can speculate as much as you like with my aim to bring in a new face or two by our next league game at Derby next Tuesday.”

Tonight’s likely squads

Arsenal: Szczesny, Djourou, Eboue, Gibbs, Koscielny, Arshavin, Vela, Fabregas, Walcott, Denilson, Wilshere, Chamakh, Bendtner, Song, Ramsey, Eastmond, Shea, Miquel, Clichy, Sagna, Nasri, van Persie.

Ipswich Town: Fulop; Edwards, McAuley, Delaney, O’Dea, Kennedy, Norris, Leadbitter, Healy, Wickham, Priskin, Lee-Barrett, Peters, Hyam, Smith, Brown, Civelli, Scotland, O’Connor, Murray, Eastman.

Referee: Mr M Halsey (Lancashire)

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