Spanish defender for Town

BLUES boss Joe Royle has used his continental contacts to bring in a Spanish defender on trial with a view to playing him against Atletico Madrid on Friday.

BLUES boss Joe Royle has used his continental contacts to bring in a Spanish defender on trial with a view to playing him against Atletico Madrid on Friday.

Luis Castrata Rodriguez, also known as Sito Castro, is available as a free agent after being released by Spanish Second Division side Racing Ferrol.

The 25-year-old is ostensibly a right-back but can play anywhere in defence and will train with Town today and tomorrow.

Royle said: "We will have a close look at him in training. We have brought him over to have a close look and we are considering playing him on Friday, but we will see.


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"He has come over on the recommendation of a couple of people we have on the continent, but we will see for ourselves."

The Blues are making an all-out effort to strengthen, especially at the back and Royle confirmed that former Leicester City defender Alan Rogers is being considered.

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Although Rogers has two years left on his current contract with Nottingham Forest, he has been told he can find another club and is available on a free transfer – but his wages could prove a stumbling block.

With Gino Padula brought in from QPR, Rogers is well aware that he does not figure in Gary Megson's plans, as the Forest manager continues clearing the decks of the side he inherited from Joe Kinnear.

The 28-year-old is one of five senior players that Megson left behind from their trip to Denmark last week and has been playing in the reserves.

A deal may be struck where Rogers is allowed to go out on loan or have some of his contract paid up, a situation similar to that of David Unsworth and Portsmouth.

There would be no immediate rush as Rogers faces a three-match ban starting at the beginning of the season after being dismissed for fighting in City's reserve team game with rivals Notts County.

The Town players are back training this morning after a day off, following their trip to Hungary.

An eager Kevin Horlock will rejoin them after fully recovering from a dead leg incurred against Rangers and will play against Atletico Madrid. Frenchman Jimmy Juan is also doing well as his sore foot heals nicely and should be in the squad.

There is a still a concern over Nicky Forster, who came off against Ujpest TE with a thigh strain and may not be risked against the Spanish side.

Fabian Wilnis also has a bruised thigh but should be fit to play. Owen Garvan has a sore foot while Dean Bowditch took a blow to the top of his right foot and has a sore ankle, and both are doubts about being fit enough to take part.

Royle said: "We have a few injuries but I would rather we had them now than next week. I was hoping that we could have played as near to our first team as possible against Madrid but with Dean and Nicky doubtful that is not going to happen."

Scott Barron will return from lengthy lay-off with a run out at Canvey Island tomorrow night in Steve McCall's reserve side.

The Blues take on Spanish giants Atletico on Friday night and follow that up on Tuesday with a trip to Layer Road for Brian Owen's testimonial match against Colchester United.

The real business starts the following Saturday with Cardiff City, at Portman Road.

The Bluebirds are expected to complete the signing of West Brom midfielder Jason Koumas today, with Darren Purse also on a verge of a move from the Baggies to Ninian Park.

If Welsh international Koumas joins City, he will be new manager Dave Jones' sixth summer signing.

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