Town face competition for Man U stars

IPSWICH Town are in competition with Birmingham City to gain the favour of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson over securing quality loan signings from Old Trafford.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town are in competition with Birmingham City to gain the favour of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson over securing quality loan signings from Old Trafford.

With Frazier Campbell helping Hull City win promotion from the Coca-Coca Championship last season, and Jonny Evans and Danny Simpson doing the same for Sunderland in the previous campaign the value of using youngsters brought up by the mighty Reds cannot be underestimated.

Simpson made eight appearances for the Blues at the end of last season and went back to United painting a very bright picture of life at Portman Road.

He wants to continue his career in Manchester and is set to go on the Premier League champions' pre-season tour.

But if there is a chance of him joining Town on a season-long loan, Magilton would be prepared to wait right up to kick-off time.

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Ferguson is often keen to give his talented youngsters a chance to gain experience in the lower leagues, and Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has revealed he has spoken to Ferguson about taking United players on loan next season.

Ipswich are hoping to build up a special relationship with United with Birmingham having similar ideas having been relegated from the top flight in May.

The midlands side used the likes of Fabrice Muamba, Sebastian Larsson and Nicklas Bendtner from Arsenal the last time they reached the Premier League.

And McLeish is keen to bolster the size of his squad and hopes his former Aberdeen boss Ferguson might be able to help with some of his Old Trafford fringe players.

So who could Town benefit from? The Manchester United youngsters in the below would fit the bill.

DANNY WELBECK

He is highly regarded and can play wide or up front.

He has said that he would like to go out on loan and it is reported that Fergie rates him higher than Frazier Campbell.

Likened in style to Portsmouth's Nwankwo Kanu, the United Under-18 coach Paul McGuinness said: “Danny's got a smooth and languid style. But don't let that fool you, it sometimes disguises the fact that he is a really hard worker.”

He has represented England at youth level and was called into the national team's Under-17s squad to take part in the World Championships in Korea in summer 2007.

DONG FANGZHUO

Having joined United in January 2004, the striker made his senior debut in May 2007 against Chelsea. Spent two years on loan at Royal Antwerp until he was eligible to play in England. In his first season in Belgium, he was the league's top scorer with 17 goals, and scored 35 goals in 61 games during his time at Antwerp.

TOM CLEVERLEY

A versatile midfielder who has progressed through the ranks at Old Trafford. The teenager can play in defence as well as across the middle of the park and has proved an asset to United's Reserves after graduating from the Under-18s.

The Basingstoke-born midfielder has been a regular for the Reds' second string, and his impressive displays have earned plaudits from coaches Brian McClair and Jim Ryan.

CRAIG CATHCART

A defender he has played for United's associated club in Belgium, Antwerp. Belfast-born he is expected to make the grade at Premier League level. Ferguson has said that he would have no concerns about promoting the youngster and he was an unused substitute in four senior games in 2006/07.

He was the joint highest appearance-maker for the Academy Under-18s in 2005/06, before being named captain of the Under-18's the following season.

SAM HEWSON

A creative central midfielder he likes to get forward and score goals and is another candidate to go out on loan. He has a talent to push forward and create chances and made 24 appearances for the Academy Under-18s in 2005/06, scoring six goals. Hewson first started playing football at the age of six, kicking a tennis ball around in his Bolton school playground.

RICHARD ECKERSLEY

This Salford born and bred full-back is predominantly a right-sided player but is also comfortable at left-back.

Injuries limited his chances in the Academy Under-18s in 2005/06 when he made just three league appearances for the young Reds side.

However, Eckersley had progressed so well by 2007/08 that he was shortlisted for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award.

DARRON GIBSON

He made 21 appearances on loan at Wolves last season. He was born in Northern Ireland but plays for the Republic of Ireland. Also highly rated, he is unlikely to make it into United's first team at the moment. A powerful central midfielder, with a great shot.