Town squad's numbers game

IPSWICH Town will announce their squad numbers today with a few intriguing shirts to look out for, writes Derek Davis.Professionals claim they don't care what number they are given but there is always a bit of haggling and a few long faces if they don't get the one they want.

IPSWICH Town will announce their squad numbers today with a few intriguing shirts to look out for, writes Derek Davis.

Professionals claim they don't care what number they are given but there is always a bit of haggling and a few long faces if they don't get the one they want.

Although it is very much a squad game now, one to 11 are still seen as the starting shirts. Some plump for lucky numbers, others for ones they have had before – it is always a talking point.

There are a few numbers up for grabs in the next few days as boss Joe Royle looks to finalise the list, and some may raise an eyebrow.


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The No. 1 shirt will be of particular interest.

The Town keepers today return from a professional keepers' coaching course with Malcolm Webster in Staffordshire, while Matteo Sereni stayed behind to train with the Blues squad at Orwell Park after recovering from a knee strain.

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Lewis Price and triallist Javier Sanchez Broto are travelling to Scandinavia on Wednesday, leaving a question mark over wantaway Sereni and transfer-listed Andy Marshall.

Sereni wore the No. 34 shirt when he signed for a club record £4.8m fee from Sampdoria, while Marshall bagged No. 1.

Marshall held on to the No. 1 spot last season but has been told he can leave on a free.

The club have to inform the Football League of their squad numbers by Thursday but clearly the earlier they are announced, the more shirts the club sells to fans wanting to put their favourite player and his number on the back.

One of the most interesting will be who replaces Matt Holland at No. 8. Tommy Miller wore 21 last season and is the obvious choice, although Jermaine Wright, who has been content with the No. 14, is another consideration.

With David Beckham and basketball star Michael Jordan wearing the No. 23, it is likely to become the world's most popular shirt number and Thomas Gaardsoe may want to retain it – although whether Nike will use him to endorse the proposed new product range is another matter.

Among those expected to stay unchanged are Fabian Wilnis (2), John McGreal (4), skipper Jim Magilton (7) and Pablo Counago (9). Richard Naylor's No. 12 has been of some significance for him and it is likely he will carry on as an important squad member.

Darren Bent is a year older and may want to change from 18 to 19, as Finidi George won't need the latter any more.

Matt Richards made the left-back slot his own towards the end of the season and may nab the No. 3 vacated by Jamie Clapham.

New signing Drissa Diallo could be handed the five or six shirt after Hermann Hreidarsson's departure to Charlton and Mark Venus's release. Chris Makin may claim one or the other and say farewell to the No. 15.

And there are fresh faces to consider – Antonio Murray, Aidan Collins, Dean Bowditch, Ian Westlake and Matt Bloomfield will probably find themselves pushed up the squad list.

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