Town chief Clegg speaks on Norris situation

IPSWICH TOWN: David Norris’ days at Portman Road may be numbered with chief executive Simon Clegg today hinting that the club might not be able to meet his wage demands over a new contract.

The skipper was in his usual all-action and determined mood at Arsenal last night when Ipswich went out of the Carling Cup after a magnificent effort against Premier League Arsenal, losing 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-final.

Portsmouth have expressed an interest in Norris and say that he wants to join them and Clegg said of the situation, in which an offer that was made to the player in December was turned down by the midfielder: “There may be some big wages here that we are talking about and we are in a position where we have to try and cope on reduced gates from previous seasons.

“Our manager Paul Jewell will be deciding who he sees as the players to take the club forward and we are well aware that the clock is ticking with David Norris’ contract ending in the summer.

“We will talk responsibly and with all parties involved and get the situation sorted out sensibly.

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“When the time is right a statement will be made.”

Steve Cotterill, the Portsmouth manager, has said that he expects talks to continue later this week before the January transfer deadline ends on Monday and he added: “I have spoken to David Norris’ agents within the last two weeks and the player is happy to come to Portsmouth. If not in January then I am pretty sure it will be in the summer.”

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Jewell will be considering his best options over Norris, Gareth McAuley and the 19 other Ipswich players out of contract in June with Norris and McAuley his priority.

Looking back on last night’s game, Jewell said: “We did not disgrace ourselves against a brilliant side.

“For an hour we held them and I thought we earned a little bit of luck we had. It was a bit more difficult when we had the ball and there was a lack of self belief in the final third.

“However, the players have given their all over the two ties against world-class players that play the game simply as Arsenal do.

“We can now concentrate on the league and the 20-odd games we have to get out of trouble.

“Make no mistake we are in a dogfight and we have not won enough games.

“With that effort we showed last night and a little more quality against, with respect lower teams, we should be OK.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised Ipswich after last night’s game.

He said: “They deserved credit for their great attitude and great spirit with defending.

“An average team playing against them would not have come back from a 1-0 deficit to win the tie.”

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