Loan star set to stay
JOE Royle is “very hopeful” that Chris Bart-Williams will be a fully-fledged Ipswich Town player by the end of this week, when his loan deal from Charlton expires.
JOE Royle is “very hopeful” that Chris Bart-Williams will be a fully-fledged Ipswich Town player by the end of this week, when his loan deal from Charlton expires, writes Carl Marston.
Town's manager has agreed the move with Charlton boss Alan Curbishley, and now it is up to the respective chairmen to reach a financial solution.
Bart-Williams has been a key player for Town over the last three months, and it's no fluke that his loan move from The Valley has coincided with Ipswich's surge up the table from the basement to the play-off zone.
It was originally believed that his loan move did not expire until after this weekend's trip to Millwall, but the permitted stay of 93 days actually ends on Friday.
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Royle revealed last night: “I think that there's a good chance that a deal will be agreed, even if it's only a contract for the rest of this season.
“I don't see a problem. The loan deal expires on Friday, and I have already talked to Alan Curbishley, who does not mind letting the player go. Now it's up to the two chairmen to sort it out.
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“Chris (Bart-Williams) has been a very important player for us. He's a great character, and I am very hopeful that we will be keeping him.
“Chris himself is really enjoying it here. He is relishing playing regular first-team football.
“But it's out of my hands now. The chairmen will be discussing the situation, but I'm quietly confident that he will be available for this Saturday's match at Millwall.”
Bart-Williams made his Town debut in the 4-1 defeat at Division One pace-setters West Brom on September 13, since when he has been an inspirational figure in Town's midfield.
The 29-year-old, who began his career as a trainee at Leyton Orient, before enjoying moves to Sheffield Wednesday (£275,000 in 1991), Nottingham Forest (£2.5m in 1995) and Charlton (free in 2001), has struggled to make an impact at The Valley over the last couple of seasons.
But he has been a consistent performer for Town, especially on the defensive side of his game, which has given Jim Magilton more scope to pull the strings in central midfield.
Bart-Williams has also contributed a couple of goals, in the 6-1 thrashing of Burnley and the crucial third in the 3-2 win at Cardiff City at the end of last month.
Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi was also on loan at Portman Road, from Sheffield Wednesday, before he made the move permanent last month. Bart-Williams will be hoping to follow suit this week.
The deal now hinges on the on-going talks between Town chairman David Sheepshanks and Martin Simons, his opposite number at Charlton.
Meanwhile, right-back Chris Makin, who has not played since the end of August due to a mystery injury that has affected his hip and groin, might have to undergo an exploratory operation.
Royle explained: “There have been no developments from the latest scan, which probably means a nerve involvement. Chris (Makin) will give it another week to get going, and hopefully things will move on, otherwise an exploratory operation might be needed.”
Town youngsters Matt Bloomfield and Chris Hogg are considering loan moves to Division Three club Boston United.
“I'm happy for them both to go on loan and get some experience. It's a chance for them to play some games,” said Royle.
Bloomfield made his senior debut as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Notts County in the Carling Cup on September 23.
* Ipswich Town midfielder Tommy Miller has pulled out of Scotland's Future Team clash with Turkey tonight through an injury sustained in Saturday's 2-0 win over Derby.