Jim hopes for a couple of new faces

JIM Magilton is hoping to announce the arrival of a fresh face - or possibly two - into his squad before his Ipswich Town party return from their pre-season tour to Holland and Belgium.

By Elvin King

JIM Magilton is hoping to announce the arrival of a fresh face - or possibly two - into his squad before his Ipswich Town party return from their pre-season tour to Holland and Belgium.

The Blues manager said: “There is capacity to bring in two players - for now - and I want them to be ones who can make a big difference.

“I have some phone calls to make but am keeping my fingers crossed that things could be happening by the weekend.”

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Two trialists left the Town hotel near Tilburg yesterday with French midfielder Alex Bertin and Algerian central defender Medhi Menari being told that they do not figure in Ipswich's plans.

Both played in Wednesday's 1-1 draw in Belgium against SV Zulte Waregem, but did not do enough to impress the manager.

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And Magilton looks unlikely to take on two other trialists - Icelandic left-back Indi Sigursson, who has started both tour games so far, and Finnish midfielder Marko Kolsi, who began against Zulte-Waregem.

Bertin impressed in his opening two games for Ipswich - at Boston and Galway - but has not been able to find his best touch on the current tour.

“Alex did well and he could become a squad player,” said Magilton. “But we need more than that with the limited resources we have to improve the squad.

“I thanked him and wished him well. Medhi is not match fit, and we want someone who can go straight into first team consideration.

“I have yet to decide whether to play Indi and/or Marko against Dordrecht in our final tour match this Friday, but at the moment I expect to field my strongest side available.”

Magilton has received good reports about the progress of Gavin Williams, Owen Garvan and Alan Lee, who are recovering from injury and illness at the Rushmere training ground.

“All three will hopefully feature in our final warm-up game - at home to Lazio next Friday,” said Magilton, who is expected to regard Shane Supple as his number one keeper.

Welsh international Lewis Price played on wednesday, but if he is considered to be Supple's deputy he might be loaned out so that he can gain valuable first team experience.

An experience deputy to Supple would then be brought in.

Strikers Dean Bowditch and Sam Parkin are doubts for tonight's game along with Spanish full back Sito Castro and Matt Richards.

Bowditch has painful shins, Parkin is still troubled by a foot knock, Sito has a groin problem and Richards took a blow on the foot against Willem 11 on Monday.

After two 1-1 draws on the trip, Ipswich will be looking to round-off with a win against a Dutch side that play in the First Division - one step down from the top flight.

There was plenty of reasons to be encouraged by the display in Belgium, with Magilton adding; “It was a definite improvement,” said Magilton. “We upped the tempo, and all the lads will benefit fitness-wise.

“We approached the game in the correct manner and scored a great goal. We are steadily getting to where we want to be.

“The Dordrecht game will be another big step with just the Lazio home match to follow before we start the league programme.”

Magilton picked out a number of players for special mention. He said: “Jaime Peters has been a success this pre-season, and he did well when he came on while Jason De Vos was outstanding again and Billy Clarke, Danny Haynes and Dean Bowditch battled away well up front.

“Nicky Forster was chomping at the bit to go on, and he was denied by a glorious save. Their goal was blighted because Scott Barron had not yet taken up his left back position after replacing Indo Sigurdsson.

“And Lewis Price is adamant the scorer handled the ball over the line.”

The players enjoyed a light training at a local ground with temperatures slightly down on Wednesday before going across the road to an outdoor lido where a number of the squad displayed their diving skills.

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