Town land their man

GARETH McAuley will be unveiled as Ipswich Town's second signing of the week at a press conference this morning.

GARETH McAuley will be unveiled as Ipswich Town's second signing of the week at a press conference today.

Following in the footsteps of Dutch defender Pim Balkestein, who signed for Town on Monday, fellow centre-half McAuley will put pen to paper on a move to Portman Road as manager Jim Magilton continues to bolster his squad ahead of the new season.

Leicester City favourite McAuley has been a target of Magilton since the turn of the year, so the Town boss will be delighted to finally get his man. He can operate as a right-back as well as a central defender.

Magilton said: "I have been a long-time admirer of Gareth (McAuley), and he has been a target for quite a while.

"He is someone that I feel can do a good job for us. We need one or two more lads with such experience."

The 28-year-old is a Northern Ireland international who initially joined Leicester two years ago, from Lincoln City. One of the highlights of his stay at the Walkers Stadium was a brace of goals in a 2-0 win at Ipswich during the 2006-07 campaign.

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Town had a couple of bids for McAuley turned down in January, after which the ex-Coleraine, Linfield and Crusaders defender signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the Foxes.

Another bid from Ipswich was rejected at the end of the most recent season but, after a lot of negotiations, a deal has finally been struck, subject to a medical.

Leicester are currently without a manager, following Ian Holloway's departure. Chairman Milan Mandaric was hoping to have a new boss installed at the start of this week, but that has been delayed.

John Gregory, Nigel Worthington, Nigel Pearson, Simon Grayson and Paul Lambert have all been linked with the job.

McAuley's arrival comes just 48 hours after 21-year-old defender Balkestein completed a move from Dutch club Heerenveen for an undisclosed fee.