It's Lee for me says boss

JIM Magilton last night shot down mounting speculation that Alan Lee was on the way out of Portman Road and that Ipswich Town want to sign Colchester United's Chris Iwelumo.

By Derek Davis

JIM Magilton last night shot down mounting speculation that Alan Lee was on the way out of Portman Road and that Ipswich Town want to sign Colchester United's Chris Iwelumo.

The Blues boss told the EADT that out-of-contract Iwelumo, who has netted 17 goals in the U's amazing first Championship season, “is not for me” and that Lee is still an important part of his plans.

Rumours have been circulating among U's fans around East Anglia for a couple of weeks now that Iwelumo, who has bought a house in Ipswich and is friendly with a number of Town players, would be leaving Layer Road for Portman Road in the summer.

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But Magilton last night said: “We are aware of Chris's contract situation and we know all about him but he is not someone we are interested in.”

Magilton is hoping to make Francis Jeffers a permanent signing in the summer and also has Jon Walters and Alan Lee, with Billy Clarke, Danny Haynes and Jordan Rhodes also in contention and he insists that Dean Bowditch's future is not necessarily away from Suffolk as many may think.

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With 16 goals already for Lee this season a number of clubs are thought to have been tracking the Republic of Ireland striker, fuelled by the incident in January when he and a few other players enjoyed a couple of days off in Amsterdam.

Magilton said: “Alan is still very much part of our plans and we have no intentions of letting him go.

“People will always speculate when something happens at a club and put two and two together but usually it makes five and is wrong, as in this case.

“Clubs are bound to be interested in Alan. He has scored 16 goals this season and has done very, very well for us.”

Lee was left out of the starting XI against Derby as Magilton looked at a different pairing as part of his planning for next season.

Magilton said: “There has been no fall out. I simply wanted to look at Jon and Frannie together. I had played Alan and Frannie as a pair at Sheffield Wednesday and Saturday I changed it. What happens this Sunday we will have to wait and see at what I feel is the right partnership for that game.

“Of course Alan wasn't happy about not playing against Derby. He wants to play every game and wants to get 20 goals but he understood my reasoning and accepted it, as the professional he is, and was as delighted as anyone with the result.”

Bowditch, who has recovered from a groin strain, will play in tonight's Suffolk Cup final and Magilton repeated Bryan Klug's assertion that he still has a chance of making it at Town.

Magilton said: “We have not lost hope with Dean by any means. We still feel he is going to come of age.

“It has been frustrating, as much for him as anyone, but he still has time.”

Matt Richards, Sito, Scott Barron and Billy Clarke, are also included in tonight's squad with Andy Plummer in goal.

Magilton is delighted with Town's inclusion in the Suffolk Premier Cup for the first time in more than 30 years.

He said: “The young lads have benefited from being in the competition and we have been impressed with the way local clubs have been with us. This is a showcase final and if we have the weather like last night with the football to match it should be quite an occasion.

“We are looking forward to the game against Leiston who are deserved finalists and whatever happens we will enter the competition again next year.”

The cup final at Portman Road kicks off at 7pm, with tickets priced at £6 for adults and £3 for Under-16s and concessions.

Ipswich Town squad: Plummer, Sito, C Williams, Smith, Synnott, Barron, Robinson, Moore, Fenn, Trotter, Upson, Reason, Tooms, Rhodes, Clarke, Bowditch.

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