Town finally capture Fuller on loan deal
BLUES boss Joe Royle has finally captured Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller on loan from Southampton.The striker has agreed to join Ipswich Town on a month's loan and is expected to join in training today before going straight into the squad that travels to Wolves this afternoon for tomorrow's game.
By Derek Davis
BLUES boss Joe Royle has finally captured Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller on loan from Southampton.
The striker has agreed to join Ipswich Town on a month's loan and is expected to join in training today before going straight into the squad that travels to Wolves this afternoon for tomorrow's game.
Fuller rejected the chance to come to Ipswich in January but personal reasons dictated that decision more than any footballing doubts.
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The 26-year-old has been concerned about a close relative who is struggling with illness on the south coast but has now decided to make the short-term switch after ensuring all was well.
Royle has been chasing the former Portsmouth, Preston, Hearts and Crystal Palace front man for some time and was keen to sign him even when Alan Lee was fit.
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With Lee now ruled out for up to a month with a hamstring injury, Town's need became greater and Royle was able to convince Fuller to join the Blues today.
Royle said: “I kept in touch with Ricardo and he has not been playing at Southampton.
“He is someone we have been after for a while and along with Alan Lee was one of my first two choices.
“It has happened this time a bit more quickly than we thought because we didn't think he would be able to join us until next week but things have been sorted out.
“The clubs have agreed details and the chairman has done a deal with the player's agent for him to come here for one month.” Nicknamed 'Wily Boo' by his Reggae Boyz teammates, due to his quick feet and deft moves, Fuller started his career at Tivoli Gardens and was first offered a deal in England by Charlton Athletic but failed the medical. A brief stint with Crystal Palace followed before he joined Hearts in the SPL.
Preston paid £500,000 for him before Harry Redknapp took him to Premiership Portsmouth and then Southampton.
Sunderland wanted to sign the striker last summer but the move broke down when he failed a medical and in January, when Redknapp returned to Fratton Park, a pay-as-you-play deal was entertained but withdrawn when Pompey signed two other international strikers.
Former Blues boss George Burley encouraged him to take the Town move in January as he was the Saints' sixth choice striker at St Mary's Stadium after scoring just three times in 25 games this season.
Fuller will go straight into the Town squad and could partner Dean McDonald up front at Wolves.
Town have a big question mark over Fabian Wilnis's fitness even though he is making good recovery from bruised ribs. Jimmy Juan and Sito Castro are fresh casualties with the Frenchman the most likely to make it in time, while Gavin Williams and Alan Lee are definitely ruled out.
Owen Garvan returns in midfield after a one-match ban and that will see skipper Jim Magilton starting on the bench once more.
n Henry Kanu, half-brother of West Brom star Nwankwo Kanu, trained with the Blues yesterday afternoon as he tried to impress while on a two-day trial.
The 26-year-old played under his father's name of Henry Nwosu while in Germany where he became friends with the Blues' Canadian winger Jaime Peters.
After catching the eye in the 2000 Olympics for Nigeria, Kanu has also played in Greece for FS Veria but left in December and is now a free agent, able to sign for Town if asked.
Kanu was introduced to the Blues by former Town star Colin Viljoen and is relishing the opportunity to prove himself in England.
Kanu said: “Colin made it possible for me to come to Ipswich, who I know about through Finidi George playing here.
“I would love to play in England. I have spent much of my career playing in Germany and there are many similarities between the way football is played in the two countries.”
A third Kanu brother, Christopher, played for Ajax and was with Peterborough United last season but has now plying his trade at Dagenham & Redbridge in the Conference.