Sereni will return

MATTEO Sereni will return to Ipswich Town tomorrow and has vowed to win back the No. 1 spot.The Italian keeper flies in from Genoa after failing to secure a permanent move to Serie A following a season-long loan spell at Brescia, which officially ends today.

By Derek Davis

MATTEO Sereni will return to Ipswich Town tomorrow and has vowed to win back the No. 1 spot.

The Italian keeper flies in from Genoa after failing to secure a permanent move to Serie A following a season-long loan spell at Brescia, which officially ends today.

Sereni will join the first-team squad at the club's Playford Road training centre on Wednesday so, unless there is suitable bid for him, he will be part of Ipswich Town's promotion push.

Brescia have already returned to pre-season training as they prepare to take on Romanian side Gloria FC in the InterToto Cup, but Sereni was not part of the sessions and they have made moves to take promising teenager Paolo Acerbis from Serie C side Albino Leffe.

Lazio and Sampdoria, as well as Brescia, were all said to be keen on signing the impressive Sereni, who kept 12 clean sheets in 23 games following his return from a hip injury sustained in a car crash last summer.

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But none want to pay cash for the 28-year-old who made 33 appearances for Town in the one season he was at Portman Road following his club record £4.8m transfer from Sampdoria.

Sereni won a £500,000 pay out from Sampdoria after an industrial tribunal but it doesn't appear to affect his relationship with the club's new hierarchy.

Sereni has been valued at more than £5m by the Italian press and has been touted for inclusion into the national squad but football finances are in an even worse state in Italy than they are here.

Blues chairman David Sheepshanks would like to see Sereni's salary, believed to be around £25,000 a week, removed from the wage bill as part of the promise to get it below £5m a year, but is adamant he will not allow the asset to go for nothing.

Sereni's salary is factored into this season's budget and Town will sit tight until they get an offer exceeding £1m.

But Serie A doesn't start in earnest until late August so they can afford to wait a few more weeks before getting serious.

Good performances for the Blues will entice suitors to join the bidding and the proud custodian is determined not to sulk and to show, once again, he is a top keeper.

He admits he will have to readjust after 'forgetting' the English he learned during his last stint.

Speaking from their holiday home in Sardinia, wife and business manager, Silvia Sereni told me last night: "Matteo has been told he has to go back to Ipswich by the manager and he will do as the manager tells him.

"He would, of course, prefer to stay in Italy but if he has to stay at Ipswich he will work hard and will show he is the No. 1. Matteo is not happy about having to come back. He feels he wasn't treated very well towards the end of his stay last time.

"There is no money in Italy to buy players, it is in a terrible state and we have not heard of any interest from any clubs in Spain.

"He has no problem with the Ipswich Town supporters, who were fantastic towards him while he was there, but he is sad about coming back."

The cheery keeper with a keen sense of humour was a firm favourite with Town fans when he first arrived in England, winning the EADT/TXU player of the month for August, September and October.

He said: "I have no problems with the people of Ipswich, they were very good to me and I always got on well with the players so it will not be awkward for me when I see them all."

He fell out with manager George Burley after asking to be rested for the FA Cup third-round tie at Dagenham, a mistake he later admitted and apologised for. He lost his place to Andy Marshall but regained it only to pick up a thigh strain, which ruled him out of the latter part of the season.

Sereni's return could hamper manager Joe Royle's plan to bring in another keeper to take over the No. 1 spot from Andy Marshall, who has been handed a free transfer. Royle also has youngsters Lewis Price and Shane Supple in reserve.

Royle was thwarted in his attempt to sign Ian Bennett from Birmingham City after he signed a new two-year deal at St Andrews. Town have also shown an interest in Celtic keeper Javia Sanchez Broto.

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