Knock-back for Royle bid

JOE Royle has once again been knocked back in his bid to bring in a defender.Bringing someone in has now become a matter of urgency with Drissa Diallo ruled out until early next year through injury.

By Derek Davis

JOE Royle has once again been knocked back in his bid to bring in a defender.

Bringing someone in has now become a matter of urgency with Drissa Diallo ruled out until early next year through injury.

The Blues boss admitted he had made an unsuccessful move for the player to bolster his thin squad.

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He said: “I did make a bid for a player but that has been rejected.”

It is likely that Town will be after a full-back, as they now have no cover for Fabian Wilnis or Matt Richards, but no one is expected to sign before tonight's top-of-the-table clash with Wigan.

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Scott Barron is still recovering after a groin problem needed surgery. Scott Mitchell can play as a full-back, although he is considered more a midfielder, while the first team would be a big step up for Michael Synott and, with a £50,000 fee payable to York City should Chris Hogg make his first-team debut, he will not be considered.

Although Town did manage to secure midfielder Darren Currie from Brighton for £250,000, they have been less successful in the loan market.

Royle has been trying since the summer to bring in a defender but has suffered a couple of knock-backs.

He has always maintained the club had contingency plans and would be able to bring in a defender in case of an emergency. With five games in the next 12 days, and one defender out for the holiday programme, this would be the ideal time to execute those plans.

Diallo will be out until at least early January with a torn tendon, with former Chelmsford schoolboy Aidan Collins once again providing cover on the bench.

Antonio Murray is also on the bench to provide cover for midfield with Kevin Horlock suspended, which gives Currie the chance to make his home debut.

Royle is not convinced with Richards' defensive qualities, preferring to use him as an attacking full-back, but he has been forced to start with him against Wigan tonight.

The Town manager is under no illusion about how big the game is for the Blues and, while nothing will be decided, winning would put Ipswich top and give them a huge boost going into the festive period.

Royle said: “This is a mid-season showdown that has come at Christmas.

“It should be a great night and I'm looking forward to it immensely in front of a near-capacity crowd.

“It will be a chance to show the viewers that we can play a lot better than we did the last time we were on the telly against Sunderland.

“We have been consistent and we were terrific at QPR and we are in good goal-scoring form. As usual, we will be going for it.

“Wigan are a good, free-scoring side and I'm not at all surprised at how well they are doing this season.”

The Latics have slipped up just once away from home this season and Royle knows they have strength throughout the side.

He said: “Everyone talks about the front two but there is more to them than the front two.

“We all know about Alan Mahon, Jimmy Bullard is underrated, except by people in the know in this division, and I know Matt Jackson, who played in my Everton cup winning side in 1995, and John Filan is one of the best keeper in this division.”

n Lewis Price's loan spell at Cambridge United has been extended for another month but Town still have a 24-hour recall for the back-up keeper.

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