Training ground undergoing revamp

IPSWICH Town's training ground will soon be only open to employees with a swipe card system in operation.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's training ground will soon be only open to employees with a swipe card system in operation.

The Blues are making no comment on reports the club is to spend close on half a million pounds on changes at Playford Road.

Portman Road has a swipe card security system and it is believed this will now be the case where the players are based and where they go through their paces other than match days.

Town have been planning changes since a break-in at Playford Road last year and soon after new manager Roy Keane arrived he made it plain he wanted the training ground to be a “place of work”.

He wants to see less comings and goings and also an office of his own as he plans to be based full time at Playford, even though he has an office at Portman Road.

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This will not entail major refurbishment, with partitions going in to section off part of the room Keane's predecessor Jim Magilton shared with his coaches.

Building work is taking place now and Town are not confirming the reported �400,000 cost.

Danny Higginbotham, one of Keane's reported targets, has publicly confirmed his desire to stay with Stoke City.

Keane took the defender from Stoke to Sunderland two years ago, but he returned to the Britannia Stadium last September to become City's regular left-back.

The 30-year-old said: “Stoke is where I have been happiest. I really enjoyed last season and reports of a move to Ipswich are pie in the sky.”

Town academy striker Ronan Murray is looking to help lift the Republic of Ireland into the finals of the European Championships Under-19 tournament.

They start their qualifying group campaign with a game against hosts Belgium in Tongeren tomorrow, then take on Switzerland at the same venue on Sunday before completing their fixtures next Wednesday with a match against Sweden at Tessenderio.

The finals are in the Ukraine next month.

Town keeper Ian McLoughlin has been left out of the final squad after being included in the preliminary list with Murray, 17, saying: “The mood in the camp is very good and we have the quality to do it. We had a three-day training camp at Enfield and it focused us on the task.

“I took my chance to show what I could do in the friendly matches away to Slovakia at the end of March and I'm confident in my own ability to step up to this level.”