Royle denies interest in striker

ALAN Lee and Jimmy Juan took another important step to playing at Preston on Saturday as Blues boss Joe Royle played down suggestions he may be in the market for another striker.

ALAN Lee and Jimmy Juan took another important step to playing at Preston on Saturday as Blues boss Joe Royle played down suggestions he may be in the market for another striker, writes Derek Davis.

Royle was among the interested spectators at Drogheda's United Stadium to watch the Republic of Ireland Under 21s' 1-0 win over Sweden and was instantly linked by the Irish media with match-winner Stephen Ward.

The Bohemians striker has now netted three goals in three international outings and has made it clear he wants to play in England next season.

A jamboree of scouts and mangers were at the game and Royle insisted he was not in the market for another forward.


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He said: “It was a good opportunity to watch a number of players. We have received reports about some of the Swedish lads and I went to have a look at them mainly. We know quite a lot about the Irish lads already with our scouting network and it was a good game to take in.”

None of the players on show would be available until the summer anyway and Town would hope to have everyone fit again by then.

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Royle said: “Once we get all the players back we have enough strikers. We have Nicky Forster and Sam Parkin getting fit. We have Danny Haynes and Dean McDonald as well as Billy Clarke and Daryl Knights coming through and possibly Adam Proudlock.”

The former Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday striker limped out of Town Reserves' 2-0 loss at Southampton on Tuesday with a re-occurrence of his knee problem but should be fine by the weekend if needed. Haynes and McDonald are likely to be in the squad to play Preston on Saturday and Royle will decide this afternoon if Lee and Juan join the party travelling up on Friday.

Both did fitness work yesterday and are due to join in first-team practice this morning.

Royle said: “They both did some extra work and came through fine. If there is no reaction to training today we will take them with us, although no decision about playing on Saturday will be made until the morning of the match.”

Lee, who has scored three goals in his six Ipswich appearances, is recovering from a hamstring tear and will not want to aggravate the problem by coming back too soon.

Joint top-scorer Juan, who the Blues are in talks with Monaco about signing on a permanent basis, has had calf and groin worries but has progressed well and is optimistic about his chances of being fit.

* Meanwhile, midfielder Kevin Horlock could make another switch this weekend when his loan spell with Doncaster Rovers expires.

Oldham Athletic boss Ronnie Moore has once again shown his interest in the left-footed artisan who has been told his contract at Portman Road will not be renewed in the summer.

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