Skipper expects to lose armband

BLUES defender Gareth McAuley is not expecting to remain team captain next season.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

BLUES defender Gareth McAuley is not expecting to remain team captain next season.

The Northern Ireland international took over from Jason de Vos as skipper last summer after being signed by Jim Magilton who was sacked in April.

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Although he has enjoyed being captain and considers it an honour, McAuley fully accepts that new manager Roy Keane may have other plans.

McAuley said: “I don't know what will happen know

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“It is the manager's choice. I would obviously want to carry on as it is an honour but we will have to see what happens.

“It is his preference as to whom he wants as his captain, so we will see.

“The manager will bring in his own players so it could be he brings in someone else or decide on someone else that is already here.”

Richard Naylor was made club captain and wore the skippers' armband in McAuley's absence until he went to Leeds last January.

Tommy Miller had the honour when McAuley suffered a hamstring injury until he told Magilton about his plans to go to Sheffield Wednesday and was subsequently dropped.

Player of the Year Richard Wright took over for the loss at Sheffield United which effectively sealed Magilton's fate as Town were not going to make the top six and held on to the role as skipper for the remainder of the season as McAuley picked up a new injury.

McAuley, who is making good progress from the knee problem, insists if he loses the captain's armband it will not lessen his devotion to the Blues cause.

He said: “It won't change how I prepare or how I play I will still give everything to this club.”

The 29-year-old who was signed for �1.1m from Leicester City last year, is targeting the friendly at Finn Harps for his return to action, a week after all the players officially come back for pre-season.

McAuley is upbeat about the forthcoming campaign and what Keane is looking for from the squad.

He said: “He has told everyone what he expects for us all. How he expects everyone to approach things from the youth team players up. Everything has to be spot on.”

Although it appears no new signings are imminent, Keane is looking to bring in players with character.

Sunderland's Carlos Edwards is a target although the winger is away on international duty with Trinidad & Tobago at the moment.

Town have been linked with another of Keane's old team-mates in Quinton Fortune with Birmingham City also reportedly interested in him.

It is more likely that defender Jonathan Fortune at Charlton will be the one Town would be looking at.

League One side Leeds United have joined the chase for Manchester United's Lee Martin with Bristol City and Birmingham City also in the hunt but Keane is understood to have already contacted the 22-year-old who has had loan spells at Plymouth and Nottingham Forest.

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