Will this be Norris’ last Town game at Portman Road?

DAVID Norris goes into tomorrow’s Championship home game against relegated Preston (kick-off 3pm) with his Portman Road future still in the balance.

Gareth McAuley looks as though he might be tempted away in the summer after continuing to stall on Ipswich Town’s latest offer that according to manager Paul Jewell meets the central defender’s requirements.

The Northern Ireland international could have played his last Town game suffering a tear to a groin muscle in Monday’s 4-1 defeat at Swansea.

Whether Norris will be making his last Portman Road appearance is a distinct possibility although there is no doubting the 30-year-old’s desire to stay if a deal can be reached.

Like McAuley, Norris is out of contract in June and can benefit substantially by any summer move because his new club would have no transfer fee to pay for a star that cost Town �2million in January 2008.

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It is believed that Ipswich and Norris are not too far away with Jewell confirming: “I have spoken to David and it has been to and fro although I don’t want to discuss his case really.”

Jewell was more forthcoming on the McAuley situation adding: “We have offered Gareth what his agent wanted.

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“It’s a big decision for Gareth to make and hopefully he will stay.

“But he may have something else and if he moves on I will wish him well. We have contingency plans and I’m not biting my nails waiting for news on those going out of contract.

“We said we wanted to get contracts sorted, but with a number of players still mulling over their offers I can see it going to the end of the season now.

“That won’t make a lot of difference now.

“I have one plan if the players sign and another if they don’t.”

Reflecting on the whole complicated contract situation, Jewell went on: “It’s been tough here with so many things to sort out.

“The media has been asking me more questions about contracts than games, and negotiations have been protracted.

“Despite all the upheaval I can’t question the players’ attitude and we must not let the last two defeats spoil what has been a decent run.

“When I arrived in early January we would have taken mid-table at this stage.

“I was aware of what was needed before the last two games although they have exposed our limitations more than perhaps some people thought.”

ARE you a David Norris fan? Let us know – e-mail starsport@eveningstar.co.uk.

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