Town eyeing Spanish keeper

IPSWICH Town are keeping tabs on Celtic keeper Javier Sanchez Broto as Joe Royle looks to complete his squad before the season opener against Reading, writes Derek Davis.

IPSWICH Town are keeping tabs on Celtic keeper Javier Sanchez Broto as Joe Royle looks to complete his squad before the season opener against Reading, writes Derek Davis.

The Hoops custodian is available on a free transfer and has already attracted interest from Portuguese giants Benfica.

The 6' 1'' 30-year-old was signed by Martin O'Neill in January from Livingston as cover when Marcus Hedman and Rab Douglas were both injured and he had sold Jonathan Gould to Preston North End, leaving just teenager David Marshall as back-up.

He made 10 appearances for the Bhoys but is now surplus to requirements and his contract at Parkhead expires next Monday.


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Born in Barcelona, Broto won a Spanish Cup medal while with Malaga before joining Airdrie. He helped Livingston qualify for Europe last season before his move to Celtic for a nominal fee.

He started his career at Castellon, moved to Villareal and then Real Zaragoza.

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Broto is one of three keepers Royle has in mind but the Blues boss will not step up his bid to bring in a new keeper until next month, and so save the club paying extra wages.

Royle said: "Javier has been recommended to us by a number of agents and he is someone we are well aware of and are considering.

"There are also a couple of other keepers I have in mind but I won't be making any moves for them until I get back from holiday. I'm still confident that we will have someone in place well before the beginning of the season."

Town missed out on Birmingham City's Ian Bennett when he chose to sign a new two-year deal at St Andrews. Grimsby's Danny Coyne has been linked to a Portman Road move after he indicated he wants to leave the relegated Mariners with James Pullen suggested to be going in the opposite direction. Manchester City's Carlo Nash is another possible option, with Burnley also in the hunt.

Once the new keeper is in place the Town squad will be complete for the August 9 kick-off with the two key defensive positions which had worried Royle filled.

Royle admitted: "I don't anticipate I will be making any more signings after that."

Drissa Diallo completed his move earlier this month after rejecting a new offer by Burnley and will join his new team-mates for pre-season training on Wednesday July 2.

With Mark Venus released, Finidi George's contract settled, Ulrich Le Pen's move to Strasbourg now made permanent and Matt Holland sold to Charlton for an initial £750,000, the Blues boss is looking to further trim his squad.

The club are willing to listen to offers for Andy Marshall, Alun Armstrong, James Pullen, Nabil Abidallah and Martijn Reuser.

Fabian Wilnis, Richard Naylor and Jim Magilton have all given verbal assurances they will sign new deals next week.

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