Royle presses ahead with plans

PHASE one of Joe Royle's planning for the new season has been completed and the Blue boss is looking towards a bright new dawn for the club, writes Derek Davis.

PHASE one of Joe Royle's planning for the new season has been completed and the Blue boss is looking towards a bright new dawn for the club, writes Derek Davis.

Royle maintained he would know by Friday evening which players from last season's squad he would still have, and how much money he has saved in wages by selling or releasing high earners and the picture is now crystal clear.

With more players - and managers - now back from their summer break, Royle will make his move for Town's No. 1 target - a midfielder.

The new signings would bolster the squad and give them fresh impetus, while loan signings of the calibre of Alan Mahon and Matt Elliott would further enhance their Championship chances.


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Royle said: “We have been able to do what many clubs can't and that is clear the decks. We have set out what we needed to do in terms of cutting the wage bill and we have identified who we want.

“The calls will be going in next week and we hope to have the players we want in soon.”

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Dutchman Fabian Wilnis ended concerns about his Ipswich future after finally sitting down and talking with Royle.

The defender joined Richard Naylor and Jim Magilton in staying to help Town's Championship campaign.

All three signed yesterday with Magilton confirmed as skipper once again after agreeing a new one-year deal.

Martijn Reuser's departure, along with fellow big earners Marcus Bent and Jermaine Wright, will go along way in sorting out the housekeeping and getting the wage bill under the £5m target.

The departures of Alun Armstrong, Chris Bart-Williams and Bent, who hardly figured at all last season, and even John McGreal and Chris Makin who were injured for much of last season, give Royle a little leeway.

The EADT reported yesterday morning that Bolton were high on the list for Makin's signature and it is understood he was due to fly out with them to Italy for a training camp but the Trotters' squad missed their flight from Stansted.

Wanderers refused to comment on their position with Makin while manager Sam Allardyce was also hoping to sign a Portuguese defender this weekend.

Meanwhile, Reuser has thanked the Ipswich Town fans for the terrific support they have given him since joining the club in 2000.

The Dutch midfielder completed his free transfer to Willem II last night but asked the EADT to pass on his gratitude to the Blues fans.

He said: “They are fantastic supporters and we enjoyed some great times together. There were a couple of sad moments too, like relegation, but hopefully I gave them a lot of joy. They certainly made me happy.

“I want to thank them for all the support they gave me in the four and a half years I was at Ipswich.

“It is a shame I had to leave a terrific club like at Ipswich but at this stage of my career it is the best thing for me.

“I'm glad to be joining an ambitious club like Willem II where I can play regularly and help them achieve their aims.”

Reuser joined Town, initially on loan from Vitesse Arnhem, and then signed for £1m after helping Ipswich win Premiership promotion.

His flamboyant style made him a huge crowd favourite and was always likely to score a spectacular goal, especially from free-kicks.

But successive managers questioned his fitness and he was mainly used as a substitute to try to win a game, which he quite often did, but the role did not suit and he revealed in the EADT he was going to quit after his match-turning heroics at Gillingham last season.

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