Killie keen on Town striker
SCOTTISH Premier League side Kilmarnock are the latest club to show an interest in Ipswich Town striker Alun Armstrong, writes Derek Davis.Killies boss Jim Jeffries made the long journey from Scotland and sat next to Joe Royle to run the rule over the former Middlesbrough and Stockport front man as 10-man Blues held fifth-paced Portsmouth to an entertaining goal-less draw.
SCOTTISH Premier League side Kilmarnock are the latest club to show an interest in Ipswich Town striker Alun Armstrong, writes Derek Davis.
Killies boss Jim Jeffries made the long journey from Scotland and sat next to Joe Royle to run the rule over the former Middlesbrough and Stockport front man as 10-man Blues held fifth-paced Portsmouth to an entertaining goal-less draw. Town held firm after goalkeeper Lewis Price's dismissal after 48 minutes.
But Armstrong, who had scored four goals in two reserve games before last night, was forced off after just 23 minutes with a lower back injury and was replaced by exciting Northern Ireland young striker Sam Morrow.
Although the 28-year-old is available on a free transfer, Kilmarnock cannot make any new signings, either on loan or permanent, until the transfer window opens in January – but I understand Jeffries is keen on Armstrong.
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Derby County and Reading have both been linked with Armstrong this season and Rams boss George Burley may renew his interest in the striker he signed for Ipswich now that Daniele Dichio has returned to West Brom after his loan spell.
Jeffries will also have noted Pompey striker Mark Burchill, who was once on loan to Town from Celtic, and has not figured in Harry Redknapp's plans and is available.
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Nabil Abidallah, who is pencilled in for a move to Britain's most northerly league club Ross County in the new year, put on another good showing.
Rushden & Diamonds boss Brian Talbot, Cambridge United manager John Taylor, Arsenal scout Stewart Houston and Colchester United assistant manager Geraint Williams were also among the scouts and managers watching impressive Town.
Armstrong had the ball in the net before going off after tapping in a Martijn Reuser cross, but it was ruled out for offside.
John McGreal was booked for a foul after half an hour but looked at ease and will be in the squad to face Sheffield United on Saturday.
With Alan Mahon ruled out after missing training and this game through flu, Reuser is a probable for the bench, especially after an exciting display last night.
The Dutchman rattled the angle of crossbar and post with a terrific right- foot shot from 30 yards.
Reuser blazed a great chance from 16 yards over the bar after being set up by Dean Bowditch, whose dazzling feet bamboozled the Pompey defence.
And another blistering 30-yard drive was acrobatically saved by Czech international keeper Pavel Srnicek and Reuser was also not far off with a 40-yard chip with the custodian off his line.
Even when down to 10 men the young reserves played some sparkling stuff with Morrow and Bowditch also firing in off target shots.
Andy Awford's Pompey side's best effort fell to Courtney Pitt but his low drive was superbly tipped away by Lewis Price.
Referee Deadman clearly has not heard of the commonsense sweeping through the game following refereeing supreme Phillip Don's departure and made eight unnecessary and unpopular bookings, and was never going to do anything other than dismiss Price when he fouled Burchill just outside the area.
Abidallah was sacrificed to allow Shane Supple to make his debut and the 16-year-old keeper made an instant impression, saving Lee Bradbury's well-struck free-kick, and carried it on with safe handling and good distribution.
Ipswich Town Reserves: Price, Hogg, Barron, Mitchell, McGreal, Collins, Bloomfield, Abidallah (Supple, 48) Armstrong (Morrow, 23) Bowditch and Reuser. Substitutes not used: Flack, Nash, Craig.
Portsmouth Reserves: Srnicek, Cooper, Silk, Harris (Casey, 71) Primus, Hughes (Park, 56) Pettefer, Bradbury, Hunt (Keene, 80) Burchill and Pitt. Substitutes not used: Bradshaw.
Referee: Darren Deadman. Attendance: 580.