Premiership club turn down loan bid

JOE ROYLE'S search of the loan market goes on after a Premiership club turned down his request to take a player on loan yesterday.

JOE ROYLE'S search of the loan market goes on after a Premiership club turned down his request to take a player on loan yesterday, writes Steve Mellen.

The Ipswich Town boss now believes there will be no transfer activity before this weekend's away game at Coventry City, although he still has irons in the fire with other clubs.

“I've had a 'no' from a Premiership club as regards one player I had high hopes for, so I doubt anything will happen before the weekend. I am still waiting on replies from other clubs though,” said the Blues boss last night.

He was not willing to confirm the positions he is looking to cover, but it's easy to pinpoint the full-back situation as one area in need of strengthening, and the failed attempt to bring in Shaun Goater from Reading illustrated Royle is not happy with the contribution from his strikeforce, despite Town being the leading scorers in the division.

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“The one thing we don't have at the club is a goal thief, a Johnny-on-the-spot in the six-yard box who the ball almost hits and goes in,” he explained yesterday.

“We have a great array of options up front, we have Darren Bent with his great pace who can get behind teams, we also have Shefki's power - he's not what you'd call a clinical finisher but he will get his fair share of goals.

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“Pablo's a twister and turner and he can score spectacular goals, but there's not anyone here at the moment who can score what I'd call 'scruffy' goals.

“I felt that the opportunity to get Shaun (Goater) - and it was an opportunity because he turned us down, not Reading - would have added to us and if that right player came along again I'd take the chance.

“I don't think Shaun's necessarily a footballer, but he is a goalscorer, sometimes they are two different things.”

With Drissa Diallo and John McGreal back in the first-team fold Royle is happier with the strength in depth for the centre-back positions.

“I think that we've missed Drissa greatly. In the early part of the season he was outstanding, we weren't scoring goals but we weren't conceding many either, and things were a lot tighter, so it's great to see him approaching full fitness.

“I would dearly love to see Chris Makin back because he was also involved in that early-season back four and can play either side. At the moment we are short there, we only have two fit full-backs at the club.

“I have no problems with us when we have the ball, it's when we're defending the worries come.”

One player who would fit the bill perfectly as regards the attacking part of Town's game is Alan Mahon, recalled to Blackburn before the end of his loan spell, but despite the constant trimming of the wage bill, it's 99% certain he will not return, even on a free transfer.

“I'd like to see him back here, I really would, but we can't take on that sort of expense at the moment,” said Royle.

The first-team squad had the day off yesterday ahead of Saturday's match at Highfield Road, and with injury worries over McGreal and Bart-Williams, today's training session will go a long way towards shaping the party that travels to the West Midlands tomorrow.

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