Town in battle for centre-back

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell says he faces competition from two Premier League clubs for an unnamed centre-back.

The Blues boss admits his squad is ‘desperately short’ of centre-backs after Ivar Ingimarsson (thigh) joined Damien Delaney (ankle) as a doubt for Saturday’s visit of Hull City.

That leaves him with just Tommy Smith as his only fit player in that position, with young right-back Jack Ainsley forced into playing alongside him for last night’s 2-1 Carling Cup exit to League Two side Northampton Town.

Jewell has been linked with Liverpool centre-back Daniel Ayala alongside Swansea and Hull, the latter having agreed an �850k fee, though he would not comment on this speculation.

However, he did say: “We’re desperately short at centre-back and I’m trying to bring players in. I’ve been trying to get two or three in since last season ended, but we’re all shopping for the same players.

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”I’m trying to get one player in particular, but there is about four clubs in for him as well - a couple of them Premier League clubs - so that shows you what we are up against.”

Meanwhile, Ipswich are closing in on a season-long loan deal for Blackburn Rovers midfielder Keith Andrews following talks with the player yesterday.

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Jewell has already confirmed he is looking for another keeper following Marton Fulop’s free transfer switch to West Brom, while he could still be in the market for another striker going on his comments following last night’s match.

He said: “We got in plenty of situations to get a second but we weren’t clinical enough in either box. I must have said that 20 times last season. Without Michael Chopra we didn’t look like we had a real goalscorer.

”There were a lot of balls going across the box and we weren’t taking them. It’s not just the front players I’m talking about, it’s the whole team. It was same old Ipswich - being too nice; winning one, losing one.”

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