McDonald set to sign deal

EXCITING prospect Dean McDonald last night confirmed he will sign a one-year deal with Ipswich Town tomorrow and is relishing the opportunity to force his way into the first-team reckoning, writes Derek Davis.

EXCITING prospect Dean McDonald last night confirmed he will sign a one-year deal with Ipswich Town tomorrow and is relishing the opportunity to force his way into the first-team reckoning, writes Derek Davis.

McDonald is among four players expected to finalise their deals this week, while it is hoped that at least one more defender will be signed in the near future.

The excellent Fabian Wilnis has already indicated he will sign tomorrow, along with on-loan Monaco midfielder Jimmy Juan.

Jaime Peters is expected to sign when he returns from Canada and Town are hoping Jim Magilton will commit today.

Magilton's importance to Joe Royle's plans can not be over-emphasised. His contribution to Ipswich over the past seven years has been immense and he showed again last season how valuable he is. It is no secret that he is not the quickest midfielder in the Championship but he was once again one of the most influential playmakers in the division.

This was reinforced by the amount of opposing managers who highlighted his contribution, with Watford boss Ray Lewington making a point in saying how relived he was to see Magilton's name missing from the Town starting line-up when they played.

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The Irishman has been an outstanding captain since taking over from Matt Holland and his influence in the dressing room and on the pitch has been colossal. Royle will no doubt try to use the 35-year-old sparingly but the Irishman's mere presence around the club will be vital in helping the younger players and galvanising the team in tough times.

Among those players who will benefit from Magilton's contribution will be McDonald.

Those who have seen him play in the reserves will already know what a talented and thrilling player he is, and the rest of the Blues supporters will get a chance to see for themselves in the coming weeks. What a treat they are in for.

McDonald's performances for Town reserves at the latter end of last season earned him a call into the firstteam squad and convinced manager Joe Royle to offer him a one-year deal.

McDonald is as excited about the forthcoming challenge as his style of wonderfully entertaining style of play

Although a thrilling presence on the pitch, McDonald is quite and unassuming off it but is clearly determined to try and make his mark.

Speaking exclusively to the EADT, McDonald said: "I'm really excited about all this. I can't wait. First and foremost I'm looking forward to getting in a good pre-season and impressing the Gaffer.

"I managed to do enough in the three months I was here for him to give me this chance and I want to show what I can do.

"I hope to be a part of the first team squad on a regular basis and hopefully I can make my first-team debut and I'm looking to make as big an impact as possible."

The 19-year-old Lambeth-born player started as a trainee at Arsenal in 2002 but was released two years later along with, including Kanu, Liam Chilvers, Sylvain Wiltord and Martin Keown.

He had trials with Boston, Farnborough and Wycombe last summer but Ipswich took a chance on him earlier this year and after quickly impressing he was handed a three-month contract.

After initially arriving as a striker, McDonald was asked to play wide right and thrilled reserve-team crowds with his ability to take on players, and showed a steely side to his game and a willingness to work back and defend.

With Sam Parkin, Nicky Forster and Dean Bowditch already proven, and Daryl Knights and Billy Clarke also pushing for a place up front, McDonald is prepared to play wide to stake a claim.

He said: "Sam and Nicky are very good signings and there is Dean and myself pushing them but if I get the chance to play and it is out wide then I don't mind.

"We also have Jaime Peters who can play wide but I know I can do a job in either position."

McDonald believes Blues fans have some attractive and exciting football in store for them, with no shortage of goalmouth action again.

McDonald said: "I can definitely say every player will be looking to chip in with goals, not just the strikers, and hopefully the fans will see even more goals than last season.

"Ipswich Town's style is very good anyway, which lends itself to attractive football and there is no reason why we can't be pushing to do as well as we did last season in finishing third, or even going one better and getting automatic promotion.

"Getting into the Premiership would be a dream season for me personally but there is along way to go before that. This is just the beginning for me and all I can do at this stage is my best and hope to continue to impress the Gaffer and get the chance to make my debut."

The Blues squad will report back at Portman Road tomorrow, although pre-season training will not start in earnest until Monday.

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