Pablo career closing

EXCLUSIVEIPSWICH Town are looking to save almost £250,000 in wages by shipping Pablo Counago out before the transfer window closes in less than a fortnight.


IPSWICH Town are looking to save almost £250,000 in wages by shipping Pablo Counago out before the transfer window closes in less than a fortnight.

The Spaniard yesterday turned down a move to the Spanish League Division Two's bottom club Cordoba but has accepted it is in his best interest to leave Portman Road.

The club have been trying to move Counago on since last summer in order to get their highest-paid player off the wage bill.

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Contrary to many exaggerated, and mixed reports, about Counago's salary, the EADT can reveal he actually earns £12,000 a week.

The Blues are hoping the Spaniard will be fixed up with a new club before the transfer window closes at the end of January, reducing their outlay by £250,000.

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In reality, though, Town may have to bite the bullet and either pay up a part of Counago's contract, so he can afford to leave and play for another club on much-reduced wages, or hope he accepts a loan move somewhere – although they would probably still have to pay some of his wages.

Counago has been reluctant to leave Ipswich and has consistently told the EADT over the past six months that he wants to help the Blues win promotion and has spoken of how the fans' support had encouraged him to stay and play his part.

But four substitute appearances in the last 15 games have convinced him that he has no future with Ipswich and manager Joe Royle has settled on 26-goal duo Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi as his first choice strike partnership.

Counago said: "I love this club but, while I will be disappointed to leave, it is the right thing for my career."

Counago's performances in the reserves have not been convincing and, the EADT understands that more than one club watching him has been put off after sending scouts to reserve games.

SPL side Aberdeen were keen for a while and Rangers last summer made enquiries about the former Celta Vigo striker.

Counago rejected the chance to go on loan to Preston North End and it is unlikely that Billy Davies will move in again for the Spaniard.

With Jimmy Juan arriving on loan from Monaco today, it is possible Counago will not even make the bench for the trip to Reading on Saturday, with the Frenchman travelling instead.

Skipper Jim Magilton has been struggling with a tight hamstring but is expected to be available, while Kuqi continues to make good progress after an ankle injury.

Reading boss Steve Coppell has devised a master plan to undo Town on Saturday.

With Steve Sidwell suspended, the Royals will make changes from the side that eventually beat Swansea in the FA Cup third round replay on Monday night after extra time.

But Coppell is keeping things close to his chest.

A whopping 4,300 Ipswich fans will descend on the Madejski Stadium for the Championship clash with fourth-place Reading.

Sales of tickets for the home fans are going really well, with more than 20,000, including the Town allocation, sold already.

The Royals are hoping the attendance will push towards the capacity of 24,200. The current record is 24,060, set when Wolves visited in the 2003 play-off semi-finals.

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