Town sign on Norwegian

SHOCKED Norwegian midfielder Vemund Brekke-Skard has agreed an 18-month deal with Ipswich Town.Skard is ready to put a teaching career on hold to become a professional footballer after a whirlwind five days for the 24-year old.

By Derek Davis

SHOCKED Norwegian midfielder Vemund Brekke-Skard has agreed an 18-month deal with Ipswich Town.

Skard is ready to put a teaching career on hold to become a professional footballer after a whirlwind five days for the 24-year old.

Last Saturday, Skard turned out for part-timers Brummenddal against Lillestrom reserves in Group Two of the Second Division of the Norwegian League, roughly equivalent to the Conference South in this country.


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On Sunday, he flew to Ipswich for a trial that started on Monday. He played in a behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday against Spurs. Skard then trained with the first-team squad on Thursday morning and in the afternoon was offered a contract, which will take him to the summer of 2007.

The student teacher, who was spotted by scout Paul Hodges, who also introduced Sito Castro to Town, is due to train with the Blues this morning before flying back to Norway to sort out some personal matters and returning on Monday.

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Blues boss Joe Royle offered the stunned Skard the deal yesterday afternoon and the midfielder quickly accepted. Royle said: “He was shocked and delighted in equal proportions. His face was a picture and, in truth, it was lovely to see his reaction.

“Vemund has done very well in the short time we have seen him and deserves this. He is a different type of midfielder to the ones we have already. He is defensively minded in midfield and gets everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Ipswich are trying to ratify Skard's status with the Norway FA and ensure he is classified as an amateur player so he can be registered to play. If he is classed as a professional, then he will not be eligible to play for Ipswich until the January transfer window opens.

Once his eligibility is established, Royle could play him in Town's reserve game against Watford on Monday and he could feasibly be involved with the first-team squad at Derby on Wednesday, or at home against Plymouth next Saturday.

Royle said: “It is a possibility that he will be involved but we have to get everything ratified first and then we will look at the situation.”

Ian Westlake will also train today but will not be involved with the squad going to Brighton. Nor will Owen Garvan, who has started running again after recovering from an ankle knock, while Lewis Price is getting over bronchitis and should be fit.

Darryl Knights has been picked for the England Under-18 squad that takes on Turkey on November 15.

The Blues' Championship game at Cardiff City has been moved back a day to Monday, November 28 and will be screened live on Sky TV.

The game was originally scheduled for the Saturday but was moved to the Sunday as Wales are playing a rugby international at the Millennium Stadium and it has now been switched again.

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