Joe plotting second-half recovery

FAR from writing off what has so far been a disappointing season, Ipswich manager Joe Royle is determined to see his side stage a bold second-half recovery.

By Mel Henderson

FAR from writing off what has so far been a disappointing season, Ipswich manager Joe Royle is determined to see his side stage a bold second-half recovery.

A bid to sign Tottenham striker Grzegorz Rasiak on loan may have failed, but the Town boss is leaving no stone unturned in his search for reinforcements.

Royle is desperate to plug the gaps in his squad caused by long-term injuries to loan star Jay McEveley and £450,000 striker Sam Parkin.


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While the former has returned to Blackburn and undergone a knee operation that rules him out for the remainder of the season, Parkin has also had surgery on a broken ankle and is unlikely to be available again until March.

Royle was keen to clinch a deal for 26-year-old Rasiak, a Polish international striker signed by Spurs from Derby at a cost of £1 million just before the August transfer window closed.

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Ex-Town boss George Burley brought Rasiak to England last season and his 17 goals helped the Rams to book a play-off place.

But Royle's attempt to line him up for a temporary move next month, when the transfer window re-opens, failed to get off the ground.

He said: “I did ask about Rasiak but I can understand Tottenham's position right now.

“They've got a great season going there and will be losing Mido when he goes off to play in the African Nations Cup.”

Tottenham boss Martin Jol still sees Rasiak, who has only made three Premiership appearances this season, as a key member of his squad.

Meanwhile, after attending an Ajax reserve fixture in Amsterdam on Monday night, Royle was back at Portman Road yesterday to continue his quest for new faces.

Chief scout Colin Suggett accompanied Royle and they met up with ex-Ipswich skipper Romeo Zondervan, who used to work as the club's European scout but is now an agent in his homeland.

The Town boss said: “It was more of a fact-finding mission than anything else. We were never going to come back with a player straight away.

“The situation in England is getting harder and harder, with clubs reluctant to let players go out on loan, so it's important we keep on top of the situation in Europe.”

Royle has already confirmed that arrangements are in place to bring in a number of trialists in the coming weeks, with a view to boosting his squad when the transfer window re-opens in January.

Danish striker Sammy Youssouf arrived on Monday and immediately impressed in a training game when he netted a couple of times.

The 29-year-old is currently with Maritimo, the Madeira-based club who are members of the Portuguese League, but he is expected to be available next month.

Royle added: “I am also keen to get over to France and take in games over there in order to see players who have been recommended to us.

“Our financial wind-down means we no longer have a European scouting network - but we do have friends, people like Romeo, who keep us in touch with what's happening.

“At Ajax I saw two players who cost 14 million Euros between them. It was a very young side and they are not all going to have a first-team future there.

“It was a chance to put a few names in the notebook. Some of them may be available in the transfer window or at the end of the season.

“The situation in England isn't going to get any easier. Players who are available are likely to go to clubs who can afford to pay all their wages.”

Agents have bombarded Royle with videos and DVDs featuring potential signings and, if sufficiently impressed, his next step will be to invite players to Ipswich for trials.

He added: “We have Youssouf here already and I am hopeful of bringing in another player next week.

“We can't do anything until January 1 so there is no need to rush a decision. I want to see as many players as possible before making up my mind.”

Ipswich have slipped to 17th in the Championship after just one win in their last 11 games and only earned a 2-2 home draw with QPR on Saturday thanks to youngster Danny Haynes' stoppage-time equaliser.

Royle said: “We have a fantastic youth policy and there are players here who have very bright futures. But we can't depend on 17-year-olds.

“Having said that, if there are 17-year-olds who are going to score regularly at first-team level I'll be quite happy to depend on them.”

Haynes and Billy Clarke, who started against QPR, are both 17 and set to feature again in the Town squad for Saturday's trip to Sheffield Wednesday.

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