Royle after loan striker

JOE Royle will make yet another determined effort to bring in loan signing today to cover for striker Darren Bent, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.

By Derek Davis

JOE Royle will make yet another determined effort to bring in loan signing today to cover for striker Darren Bent, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.

Kelvin Davis is also a major doubt for tomorrow's clash with Burnley, meaning Lewis Price will play in his third consecutive Town game, although he picked up a minor knee injury playing for Wales Under-21's.

Results of a scan this morning will tell the club's medical staff whether it is an actual tear, as suspected, or a strain, which was the early diagnosis.

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Bent revealed to the EADT on Monday that he was suffering from a hamstring injury and would miss the England Under-21 game in Azerbaijan. He returned to Ipswich yesterday and went for a scan in the afternoon.

Royle said: “If our worst fears are confirmed he could be out for three or four weeks but we are still hoping it is just a tired hamstring.”

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Royle, who watched out-of-favour Crystal Palace striker Dougie Freedman last week, said: “I will be speaking to one or two people. We need beefing up but, as I have said before, I don't want to just bring in a squad member, I want someone who will make an impact.

“At the moment I'm asking about the same two or three players and waiting for the clubs to change their opinions.”

Freedman is unwilling to leave Selhurst Park at the moment as he chases a century of goals for the Eagles and believes he made a mistake leaving the last time they were in the Premiership.

Other targets include Shaun Goater, who was down the pecking order at Reading, but the £8,000-a-week target man is now needed with injuries mounting at the Madejski Stadium. But Royle insists he now has new targets. He added: “The two I'm after have not been mentioned yet.”

Getting in a keeper is not a worry, with Price doing so well for club and country and reserve keeper Shane Supple a capable back-up.

Royle said: “Kelvin has not trained properly for two weeks so is extremely unlikely to play. The challenge for Lewis is now to make it hard for me to leave him out when Kelvin is fit but, that said, I believe Kelvin is the best keeper in this division.”

Something will have to give when the Blues and the Clarets collide tomorrow, with John McGreal the lynch-pin of a defence that has allowed just one away goal in the league this season.

Royle laments the loss of McGreal, who chose a long-term contract with Burnley rather than the one year on offer at Ipswich.

He said: “Of all the players that left in the summer, I was most disappointed with John's departure. I really saw him along with Jason De Vos or Richard Naylor, or even all three together, which would give us a great base, so I was sad when he left. He went for security and I understand that.

“They are going to be hard to break down as it is the best defensive record against the best goal-scorers.”

Town will have four Academy players on the bench, with any three from Darryl Knights, Antonio Murray, Aidan Collins, Scott Mitchell, Scott Barron and Jerrome Sobers likely to join Supple among the subs.

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