Ricardo says no to Town deal

BLUES boss Joe Royle has switched his attentions to a new target after Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller rejected a loan move to Ipswich Town.Royle is still hoping to sign a new striker before the weekend so they can play in the FA Cup and could also buy a player during this month's transfer window.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle has switched his attentions to a new target after Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller rejected a loan move to Ipswich Town.

Royle is still hoping to sign a new striker before the weekend so they can play in the FA Cup and could also buy a player during this month's transfer window.

The Blues had agreed a deal with Southampton to sign Fuller on loan for the remainder of the season, with the possibility of making it a permanent deal, but Fuller is keen to remain on the south coast.


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The former Preston, Hearts and Portsmouth striker has told the Blues he will make his mind up after speaking with agent Phil Brown tonight.

The EADT understands that Fuller has been offered a pay-as-you-play contract with Portsmouth, although that may soon be retracted, and is also keen on staying at St Mary's and force his way into George Burley's reckoning.

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Town chairman David Sheepshanks last night confirmed Ipswich were now looking elsewhere for either a loan deal or a cash buy.

Sheepshanks said: “We have made an enquiry regarding bringing in Ricardo Fuller but he has asked for time to consider his future.”

Town are not prepared to hang around and have already made a move for at least one more player of international pedigree.

Sheepshanks added: “We are looking at other options which may take preference over our enquiry for Ricardo Fuller.”

Premiership strikers Geoff Horsfield and Jonatan Johansson remain high on Royle's wish list, although other strikers have appeared on the Town radar with Matt Jansen, Dion Dublin and Neil Mellor believed to be available.

Town's FA Cup opponents Portsmouth are suddenly in the money with new part-owner Alexandre Gaydamak taking a £15m half-share in the Fratton Park club, and that could hasten Svetoslav Todorov's departure on loan.

The Blues are short of strikers for Saturday with Danny Haynes the only fit and available striker at the moment.

Dean McDonald is cup tied, while Sam Parkin is a long-term casualty.

Nicky Forster is struggling with a knee injury, Adam Proudlock suffered a reaction to his recent knee problem after a 10-minute run-out on Monday, and Danny Haynes is still not fully comfortable with his sore knee.

Town's need for a defender may have receded a little after Scott Barron's outstanding full league debut on Monday against Stoke City.

A former Blues target, Arturo Lupoli, was twice on target for Arsenal's reserves against Ipswich in a behind-closed doors reserve team match yesterday, with the Blues losing 2-0 at the Gunners' London Colney training ground.

Arsenal Reserves: Poom, Eboue (Murphy, 45), Gilbert, Larsson, Djourou, Senderos (Simpson, 62; Kelly, 76), Stokes, Muamba, Bendtner, Lupoli and Abeyie. Subs not used: Mannone and Elston.

Ipswich Town Reserves: Garnham, Mitchell (Short, 76), Ainsley, Lordan, Nash, Peters, Horlock, Leabon, Moore and Craig. Subs not used: Fenn and Sheringham.

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