Top Spanish side to visit Portman Road

A TOP Spanish side has been pencilled in to complete Ipswich Town's list of pre-season friendlies.The EADT can reveal the attractive La Liga side who narrowly missed out on playing in the UEFA Cup next season, will visit Portman Road on Friday, August 1, in Town's final warm-up match before starting their promotion challenge at home to Reading on August 9.

A TOP Spanish side has been pencilled in to complete Ipswich Town's list of pre-season friendlies.

The EADT can reveal the attractive La Liga side who narrowly missed out on playing in the UEFA Cup next season, will visit Portman Road on Friday, August 1, in Town's final warm-up match before starting their promotion challenge at home to Reading on August 9.

Confirmation of the fixture is expected later today and the club do not want to tempt fate by releasing the name of the club, who boast international stars in the side, until all the paperwork is completed.

It will be another prestigious friendly for Ipswich after a string of games against quality European opposition over the years. Celta Vigo were the visitors last season and they went on to finish in the top four of the Spanish League last night.

Blues chairman David Sheepshanks last night said: "We have been working terribly hard to bring in a top European side to launch the new season at Portman Road and we are very close to finalising details."

Spanish clubs completed their league season last night and so start their new season much later than we do in England and so will be at the early stages of their pre-season preparations, while Joe Royle's Blues will be looking to fine tune for the new campaign.

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Town start their pre-season warm ups at Steve Wignall's Southend United on July 15, before embarking on a three-game stint in Scandinavia, where they will take on Mjallby, Helsingor and Trellborg.

They return to visit Colchester United at Layer Road on July 26 and their final away trip is to Neil Thompson's Boston United on July 30.

Meanwhile, holidaying Royle is working on securing a new goalkeeper for the new season. He returns from Majorca next week hoping to have a new man installed between the sticks by the time players return from their break on July 2.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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