Town could face trio of City signings

IPSWICH Town could face three new signings in Sunday's derby clash as Norwich City wage a multi-million pound gamble to reach the Premiership.

IPSWICH Town could face three new signings in Sunday's derby clash as Norwich City wage a multi-million pound gamble to reach the Premiership, writes Derek Davis.

The Canaries held talks with Charlton striker Mathias Svensson last night after agreeing terms with the Addicks for the Swedish striker.

Alan Curbishley accepted an undisclosed fee for Svensson, who was on loan at George Burley's Derby County earlier this season after fading out of the Premiership picture with Charlton.

City reached agreement with Manchester City late on Monday night to take back Darren Huckerby but Kevin Keegan also accepted West Bromwich Albion's offer.


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Both clubs have agreed to stump up £750,000 up front with a further £250,000 to come if promoted to the Premiership, but the final decision has been left to Huckerby, who completed a three-month loan spell with City last Saturday.

The former Newcastle and Coventry forward, who was signed at Manchester City by Joe Royle, is on around £18,000 a week and even if he takes a hefty pay cut his wages would cost City in the region of £250,000 this season and a similar amount would need to be found for his salary next year even if they are still in Division One.

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Nigel Worthington unveiled Leon McKenzie on Monday after signing him for an initial £325,000 from Peterborough United.

If Svensson and Huckerby agree personal terms and the paperwork is done by 5pm on Friday then all three could figure in the high noon showdown on Sunday.

The triple move represents a massive gamble for City, who earlier this month announced losses of £4.6m in the last financial year and admit to being £15m in debt, including money owed on their new stand.

It comes after Worthington made it clear that he wants to manage in the Premiership and the board have to match his ambition by giving him funds.

Worthington said last night: "I'm delighted that money has been made available for these players.

"As I said the other day we'll never have a better chance of getting in the Premiership than we have this season and if we hadn't taken a little gamble now it would have been a cardinal sin.

"The purse strings have been released, which is nice, and now we need to pay the board back by getting the right results."

If Norwich fail to reach the promised land, and a £25m windfall, the club could face administration unless Delia Smith and her fellow directors are prepared to dig deep into their personal wealth after already loaning the club a further £1m.

Cash-strapped City were forced to launch a 'B' preference share issue after a deal to sell land adjoining the Carrow Road stadium for £6m fell through and such heavy losses were recorded.

The club hope to raise a maximum of £2.28m which would be used to subsidise Worthington's spending. Their main share issue last year raised just £2.25m, falling some way short of the hoped for £5m target.

The club has recently switched from Girobank to the Bank of Scotland, who have extended their overdraft facility.

If City, who are currently second in Division One, fail to win promotion they will be stuck with spiralling losses and a huge debt.

Chairman Roger Munby admitted earlier this month that unless spending was controlled the board was risking the club's future.

He said: "Unless we can balance our finances and bring our expenditure down to where we can reasonably expect our income to be, we are risking the long-term viability of the football club."

If City were to flounder and fall into administration after the close of this season they would face a 10-point deduction. The new rule applies to all Football League clubs after the end of this season so clubs going into administration before the end of May would not be penalised.

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