Saints want Matt

SOUTHAMPTON are poised to make another bid to take Matt Richards from Ipswich Town.Although the Saints are close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea for Graeme Le Saux, manager Gordon Strachan is still keen to take Richards for the longer term.

SOUTHAMPTON are poised to make another bid to take Matt Richards from Ipswich Town.

Although the Saints are close to agreeing a deal with Chelsea for Graeme Le Saux, manager Gordon Strachan is still keen to take Richards for the longer term.

With Wayne Bridge completing his £7m move to Stamford Bridge, Saints need a left-back and as the EADT revealed last May, Strachan is extremely keen on Richards. After being rebuffed in June he is ready to up his offer to secure the 18-year-old.

But Blues boss Joe Royle is equally determined to keep the young defender who returned to training in Suffolk yesterday after missing the trip to Sweden following a hamstring injury.


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Royle said: "We are well aware of Southampton's interest but they are wasting their time as Matt is someone I want to keep."

Southampton are also tracking Charlton's Paul Konchesky and Lens youngster Cyril Rool, but see Richards as the No. 1 choice if they can get him for around £1m, which Town are very unlikely to accept.

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After allowing Javier Sanchez Broto to leave the Town party last night and return to Spain, Royle was working hard to bring in another top stopper.

While Paul Gerrard remains a keeper he covets, the situation at Everton makes it unlikely he will secure him in the near future and he has set his sights on another experienced goalie.

With Richard Wright likely to miss the beginning of the season Gerrard, along with Thomas Sorensen, is looking for a first-team start at Goodison Park.

Broto meanwhile, has admitted his disappointment at not securing a deal at Celtic hampered his chances of impressing Ipswich.

He said: "My head was not really right. I'm a good goalkeeper but I never really showed it. I will return to Spain now and talk to my agent and see what happens. But for the moment I don't know what my future holds."

Lewis Price will play tonight as Town tackle a mixed Trelleborg side made up of the three teams in the town. The senior side top the SuperEtten, the equivalent of our Division One, but with a crucial league game coming up tomorrow, many of the starting XI won't be involved tonight.

Welsh under-19 international Price has been desperate to get some more first-team action after playing at Southend last week.

Aidan Collins is another ambitious youngster looking to get some game time under his belt. He felt a twinge in his hamstring on Saturday, so missed Sunday's win but is now recovered and should start tonight.

Gerard Nash could also get another run-out, so allowing Richard Naylor and Driss Diallo a rest after an impressive central defensive partnership.

Jim Magilton is still suffering from a tight hamstring, while Tommy Miller is feeling much better and could get to start.

Georges Santos is feeling a little sore and stiff after two games in quick succession but insists he is enjoying himself and is already keen to turn the three-month initial contract into something more permanent.

The Town squad went swimming yesterday morning, with some going into Malmo to watch an Allsvensken League last night.

The terrific travelling Town fans can expect a host of changes again tonight, with the awesome front three of Marcus Bent, Darren Bent and Pablo Counago probably getting a little longer than 45 minutes before the changes are made.

It could be the last time many of the youngsters get a long run-out as The Blues plan to step up their preparations for the starting side when they play Colchester United at Layer Road on Saturday and then Boston United away before the bigger test at home against Levski Sofia.

Ipswich Town squad: Price, Wilnis, Makin, Collins, Nash, Santos, Miller, Westlake, M Bent, Counago, D Bent, Murray, Armstrong, Bowditch, Reuser, Abidallah, Diallo, Naylor, Magilton.

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