Town issue 'hands off' warning

GET lost, Alan Curbishley - you can't have any more of our players.That is the message loud and clear from Portman Road today after the Charlton manager ran the rule over Ipswich Town's latest crop of exciting talent on Saturday.

By Derek Davis

GET lost, Alan Curbishley - you can't have any more of our players.

That is the message loud and clear from Portman Road today after the Charlton manager ran the rule over Ipswich Town's latest crop of exciting talent on Saturday.

The Addicks boss is understood to be preparing a summer swoop for three of Town's stars but will be told to forget it when an approach is made.

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Irish duo Owen Garvan and Shane Supple are believed to be high on his list but Canadian international defender Jason De Vos is also understood to be a target.

Curbishley was sitting in the directors' box at Portman Road, with Charlton not playing until yesterday when they beat Newcastle United 3-1. He spoke briefly with chairman David Sheepshanks and chief executive Derek Bowden but players were not mentioned.

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Curbishley has already bought an astonishing five former Blues, with Darren Bent, Matt Holland and Hermann Hreidarsson bought direct from Ipswich, while Marcus Bent and Darren Ambrose have been secured from Newcastle and Everton.

But Sheepshanks confirmed that the Blues were adamant they will not be selling players in the summer and will not entertain an approach from Curbishley, with a new share issue about to be launched which would actually offer more investment in the current squad.

He said: “I hope Mr Curbishley was watching Hull City players because I have no intention of entering into dialogue with him or anyone else about any of our young players.”

The Addicks boss is in the frame for the England job but insists he is already planning for the new season with Charlton, and that includes bringing in new players.

Curbishley said: “The England speculation is a bit of a problem when you are trying to go about the business of managing Charlton. I am trying to plan for next year and I'm trying to attract players to this club.”

Cynical Town fans may fear they have heard similar assurance in the past but Town have consistently pointed out this year that they have the finances in place to ensure sales do not have to be made.

The £26million debt to the major creditors was rescheduled in January and the Blues were handed a cash bonus of £250,000 through a sell-on fee for Marcus Bent from the Toffeemen.

The Blues are planning to launch a form of share issue in the summer to raise even more capital but Sheepshanks insisted that the club would need a similar base of season-ticket holders as last year for the new scheme to be successful. Details of the issue are expected to be announced early in April.

Speaking in Saturday's programme Sheepshanks confirmed: “We are planning some form of share issue for the summer with the primary objective of enabling us to invest even more in this increasingly promising-looking squad. But we absolutely need a similar base of season tickets to make it work.”

Town are hoping that season-ticket sales will provide the platform for a healthy budget for the coming season and early indications are the promise of the existing squad is helping Blues fans to show their loyalty by committing before the April 13 discount deadline.

Norwich City have already sold 16,000 season tickets and the Blues are hoping they can beat their East Anglian rivals on the terraces as well as the pitch.

Town drew the game against Hull City 1-1, with Darren Currie opening the score midway through the first half and Leon Cort equalising midway through the second but Town were left rueing missing a glut of chances.

Also on show was Danny Haynes, who had been released by Charlton's Academy.

Haynes was one of four 18-year-olds that finished the game for Town, along with Garvan, Supple and Chris casement, who made his home debut.

Sheepshanks added: “Like all Ipswich fans I was frustrated and a little angry at the final whistle because I felt our football deserved a winner.

“But what was wonderful was to see four 18-year-olds finishing the game and that bodes well for the future and I'm extremely optimistic about next season.”

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