Joe gears up to find overseas 'gem'

BLUES boss Joe Royle will be running his eye over a clutch of foreign triallists as he prepares to add to his squad in the January transfer window.The hopefuls, from countries that include Finland, Portugal and Norway, will be arriving over the next couple of weeks looking to win a contract with the Championship club.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle will be running his eye over a clutch of foreign triallists as he prepares to add to his squad in the January transfer window.

The hopefuls, from countries that include Finland, Portugal and Norway, will be arriving over the next coupe of weeks looking to win a contract with the Championship club.

Town have already signed Sito Castro and Vemund Brekke-Skard this season after successful trial periods and Royle is hoping to unearth a couple more footballing gems to fill the void left by a catalogue of injuries.

With goals hard to come by for Ipswich this season, and Sam Parkin a long-term casualty after breaking an ankle, a goal-getter is vital. And, with Jay McEveley now back at Blackburn recovering from a serious knee injury, a genuine left-back is another priority.

Royle said: “Our scouts are short-listing people who are front men and left backs.

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“We are still waiting for confirmation from a few places but there will be trialists coming in, mainly from overseas.”

The Blues boss still has a loan kitty but hopes of signing any players on a permanent basis, especially if a fee is involved, would come from money raised by restructuring the club's debts, as talked about at the AGM, and a successful FA Cup run.

Royle is hoping his existing strikers can start finding the net and negate the necessity for him to look elsewhere and the manager feels the team are close to hitting good form.

He added: “I don't think we are far away again. I can see improvement in us and I was pleased with us against Wolves, who are one of the strongest teams in this division and are up there with the likes of Reading.

“Front players are so important in a team and we are looking for our front players now, in the absence of Sam, to say 'if you are looking for a front man then they have to do better than I am' and they need to be scoring goals.”

Adam Proudlock's jarred knee is still troubling him and so is unlikely to feature against QPR. Nicky Forster has trained well this week, with no further reaction to his sore knee, and will start, while Dean Bowditch will be looking to add a goal to his improved form of late.

Billy Clarke is pushing hard for a start and Danny Haynes scored in the reserves' 3-0 win over Norwich City on Monday to press his claim.

Darren Currie has a good goal-scoring record against his boyhood club, while Jamie Peters is also stepping up his game, all of which bodes well for the Blues against QPR, who have also been inconsistent this season.

Royle said: “It was they that inflicted our first defeat of the season and that was also the start of our injury problems.

“We didn't get off to the best of starts there but we had a great second half fight-back, although we lost. We now have a chance to avenge that.

“Ollie (manager Ian Holloway) has done a great job there on a nil budget. I'm a great admirer of his, although I read that he is under a little bit of pressure, which I find amazing.

“Then again, after the events of this week, nothing amazes in football anymore.”

Fabian Wilnis will return at left-back but the best Owen Garvan and Ian Westlake can hope for is a place on the bench after playing half-a-game each on Monday and both are still in need of more games.

FA Youth Cup holders Ipswich Town face another tough away trip in the fourth round, after being drawn against the winners of Liverpool and Cardiff City, who meet on Saturday, December 17. Town meet the winners with the game having be be played before Saturday, January 21.

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