Second Fletcher loan bid fails

A SECOND bid to land West Ham midfielder Carl Fletcher on loan has ended in disappointment for Blues boss Joe Royle.The former Bournemouth midfielder returned to Upton Park on Monday following a month's loan at Watford and Town tried to lure Fletcher to Portman Road.

By Derek Davis

A SECOND bid to land West Ham midfielder Carl Fletcher on loan has ended in disappointment for Blues boss Joe Royle.

The former Bournemouth midfielder returned to Upton Park on Monday following a month's loan at Watford and Town tried to lure Fletcher to Portman Road.

But the 25-year-old is keen to try and break into the Hammers' side that is doing so surprisingly well in the Premiership and does not want to go back out to another Championship club just yet.


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Fletcher told his club's website: “The Premiership is where every player wants to be and I'm no different.

“There is a good squad of players at West Ham and I'm just one of those pushing hard for a place in the team.

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“I have just got to work hard in training and do my best to breakthrough.”

Royle went to watch the Hornets in their 2-1 home defeat against Leicester City last weekend, which was also Fletcher's final game on loan at Vicarage Road.

The Town manager had been interested in signing Fletcher before he went to Watford last month and had hoped to see him in action against Town reserves in September but the player moved that day.

Royle has pinpointed a shortlist of players he would like to get. Alan Mahon at Wigan and Charlton's Matt Holland are also believed to be on his wishlist and he will hold out until one of them becomes available.

With Owen Garvan and Kevin Horlock both out for at least one game, and in Horlock's case possibly two to three weeks, the need for an energetic central midfield player who does a lot of donkey work is a little more pressing.

While Royle will not discuss individuals, he did admit to asking about players this week.

He said: “I did make enquiries about a couple of loan players. They were the same players we have asked about before but we got the same results.

“I dared to say last week that things were clearing up on the injury front but here we are again, stretched. Again it is all in one area, this time the midfield.

“Adam Proudlock's arrival could not have come at a better time and it is a chance for Jimmy Juan and Matt Richards.

“I always felt Matt was better as an attacking left-sided player and he did well the other night.”

Skipper Jim Magilton is expected to return after being rested on Tuesday to replace Garvan, while Juan is favourite to take Horlock's place in midfield.

Royle remains pragmatic about the continuing run of injury problems Town are suffering and is still eyeing a top-six spot.

He said: “It is such a crazy league that we are still just a couple of points away from the play-off places and we are supposedly having a bad time.

“We are having a bad time with injuries and I'm not sure many squads outside the top boys could accommodate the injury problems we have had.

“There were some good things from Tuesday night. Jimmy Juan and Matt Richards both did very well and it is a good job Adam Proudlock came when he did.”

Promising young attacker Dean McDonald keeps his place in the squad for tomorrow as Town look to secure their first win in three games.

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