Transfer intrigue looms over game

WITH a backdrop of transfer intrigue the game almost paled into insignificance.Alan Lee didn't start adding fuel to the flames of speculation that he is on his way to Burnley.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis>

WITH a backdrop of transfer intrigue the game almost paled into insignificance.

Alan Lee didn't started added fuel to the flames of speculation that he is on his way to Burnley who are reported to have made a £900,000 bid, denied by the club who claim they have not had any offers for any of their players.

Lee's omission was more down to a niggling Achilles injury and being in poor form and while it is likely that Jim Magilton would accept an offer for Lee, the player is comfortable at Ipswich and will not leave easily.

New signing Alan Quinn was at Bloomfield Road with the paperwork to his £400,000 move all done but was not included as the manager felt it was all too rushed for his former Sheffield Wednesday team-mate.

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Also at Bloomfield Road were two of Marcus Evans' directors on the Ipswich board Martin Pitcher and ?? but the impression they made on a small group of East Anglian journalists in Lancashire was uninspiring and underwhelming.

A bit like the overall performance of Town as they strove to end their 18 game streak of failing to win away stretching back ten months.

The failure to win away is such a long running saga now it is almost tedious. All the nonsense about omens and superstitions are as inconsequential as the psycho babble that has built up to.

Quite simply for Ipswich to end their bad run is to score more goals than the opposition and at Blackpool it never looked like they were going to do that.

Gary Roberts went up front instead of Lee after impressing in that position, and scoring, against Peterborough reserves last Monday and he put in plenty of effort and carried a threat.

He never really linked to well with Pablo Counago who played with his back to goal quite well but his flicks and turns never came off.

Jon Walters was again a stand out up front with his business and he and Roberts combined superbly at a corner to level the scores. This came as town finally woke up and yet again it needed a key moment to inspire them.

Going a goal down seven minutes before half time had not really stirred them so it needed Sito Castro going in two footed and to receive the compulsory red card to get the Blues going.

They were helped by some excellent full-blooded defending by Richard Naylor who relishes the blood and guts approach that ten-man Town employed in the latter part of the second half.

It also needed an outstanding save from Neil Alexander to ensure Town saved the point and end a run of six successive away defeats.

They got themselves in trouble at Blackpool when Owen Garvan lost the ball in the middle of the park. Wes Hoolahan, a player Town have shown an interest in but likely to go to Sheffield United, passed the ball into a channel quickly.

Seasiders' new £300.000 signing Stephen McPhee ghosted between Sito Castro and Alex Bruce and drew the keeper before squaring for Claus Jorgensen to tap in from eight yards.

The Blues vainly appealed for offside but the linesman who had saved them three times earlier kept his flag down and it was no more than each team deserved.

Although Town had started reasonably well the goal had been coming as Blackpool got on top and Town looked flat, especially in the middle of the park.

The 'sold out' signs were up in the Bloomfield Road ticket office and 1,495 travelling town fans swelled the numbers, with the Northern Ireland branch making themselves known to Jim and his band of Irish players.

David Wright and Danny Haynes celebrating his 20th birthday had shaved heads, with Wright looking remarkably similar to John McGreal at the back.

Haynes could not get into his game, with Stephen Crainey doing a good job keeping pace with him. The teenager, reputedly a £3m West Ham target, twice looked menacing once with a volley from the edge of the area which was blocked and in the second half when he finally got clear but shot across goal and wide.

Town barely troubled the Blackpool keeper while the hoe side flooded players forward with the midfield runners causing concern getting on the end of Gary Taylor-Fletcher's crosses from the right.

Ben Burgess headed wide, while Alexander made good saves from Michael Flynn and Jorgensen and even when Town were at their best in the last 30 minutes Blackpool always looked capable of snatching a winner.

In the big scheme of things for Town to get a point away at Blackpool is not a bad result but given the away record it remains a concern.

All will be forgiven if Town win at home again and after the break they have a new look Plymouth side that they will be confident about beating - with or without David Norris.

There may not be a game until the 29th but the transfer intrigue continues.