Money available for right man

EXCLUSIVEDEREK Bowden last night revealed that money is available to manager Joe Royle to buy a player if he wanted too.The Ipswich Town chief executive was speaking hours after the club accounts for the past financial year showed that, although there was a net loss of £480,000, they had made an operating profit of £1.

EXCLUSIVE

DEREK Bowden last night revealed that money is available to manager Joe Royle to buy a player if he wanted too.

The Ipswich Town chief executive was speaking hours after the club accounts for the past financial year showed that, although there was a net loss of £480,000, they had made an operating profit of £1.75m.

Blues boss Royle has been in the market for new players since the summer, with a striker and defender top of his list. It has been widely assumed that the club would dip into the loan market.


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Bowden last night confirmed the club had provided funds to spend, if Royle could land a target.

He said: "The Board approved funds for Joe to go out and get a player some time ago.

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"That could be for loan players, or even to buy at the right price. The frustrating thing, though, is that even though the money is there, the right players have not been available so far.

"I'm sure we will get a new player in sooner or later, but it has to be the right one."

Town had to wait almost six weeks, for a variety of reasons towards the end of last season, before landing Matt Elliott on loan from Leicester City and he proved to be an important acquisition, which helped Town achieve a play-off place.

Meanwhile, 11 home-grown Town players held high-flying Southampton reserves to a goal-less draw at Portman Road last night.

Star of the show was 17-year-old keeper Shane Supple, who played despite having a suspected broken toe.

Supple was unable to be involved on Saturday at Watford for the first team, after struggling with the pain, but came through with flying colours last night and is confident he is ready for a first-team debut if called upon.

He said: "We don't know if the toe is broken or not but, as there is not much you can do either way, we are just getting on with it. I have it strapped up and have taken painkillers and, as I'm all right to play, I just got on with it.

"I could not have played Saturday as it was too painful on Friday but it feels okay now."

The biggest game 17-year-old Supple has been involved in so far was the FA Youth Cup encounter against Leeds United last season.

The Dubliner has won international honours with the Republic of Ireland Under-17s and last year tasted victory in a five-team tournament, beating Czech Republic in the finals.

While he is prepared to wait for his Town senior debut, he admits he can't help dreaming about getting on, after being on the bench as cover for Lewis Price while Kelvin Davis recovers from a back injury.

Supple said: "It has been a big step up for me this year and it has been a great experience for me being involved in the first team.

"There is always that thought in the back of your head that you might get on in an emergency and it would be nice, but it is unlikely.

"I'm happy enough at the moment to be on the bench and playing in the reserves for the next couple of years.

"I doubt I would be called on but, if it did happen, then I feel I could step up to do a job and handle it."

One man who has been there, seen it and kept the shirts is 40-year-old coach Andy Rhodes, who was on the bench against the Saints, with many players in the club hoping he may get a part of a game.

Supple has benefited from Rhodes' coaching but admits coming off early had fleetingly crossed his mind but, with the game delicately poised at 0-0, thought better of it.

He said: "Rhodesy has been brilliant for me and I have been learning all the time. I think he was glad not to come on but there has been a lot of banter around about me coming off with ten minutes to go. I was a bit tempted but I couldn't do that."

Town accounts revealed – Page nine

Reserve match report – Page 44

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