Town star hits out at Garvan exit

IPSWICH'S pre-season preparations have been disrupted by Owen Garvan's dramatic return to Ireland, a leading Town star claimed today.The 19-year-old midfielder returned to Portman Road over the weekend following his recent shock exit.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH'S pre-season preparations have been disrupted by Owen Garvan's dramatic return to Ireland, a leading Town star claimed today.

The 19-year-old midfielder returned to Portman Road over the weekend following his recent shock exit.

But there remains a huge question mark over his future with the club - even if he today accompanies the squad to their training camp at Loughborough University.


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Manager Jim Magilton and his players are staying there this week and have arranged friendly games at both Burton tomorrow and Kettering on Thursday.

But Magilton is going to have to work hard on team camaraderie, judging by the comments of one senior star who asked not to be identified.

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The player admitted team morale had suffered as a result of Garvan's absence from pre-season training.

He said: “The rest of the lads are far from happy. It does nothing for team spirit and that's what pre-season should be all about - improving fitness and gelling as a team.”

Fans already frustrated by Town's lack of transfer activity - they are the only Championship club yet to sign anyone since the end of last season - are mystified by this latest development.

Rumours of Garvan being unsettled were doing the rounds almost a fortnight ago and the gossip continued after the club confirmed the youngster had returned to his native Dublin because of “personal problems”.

I understand trouble was brewing as long ago as April when Garvan first hinted that he was not enjoying his football.

He dropped strong hints that he would not be back for the new season, although few, if any, took him seriously.

The impression he gave, apparently, was that he had fallen out of love with the game and was even thinking about turning his back on it altogether.

He would be an expensive loss to Ipswich should that happen, with several Premiership clubs known to be tracking him since then boss Joe Royle gave him his debut.

That was on the opening day of the 2005-2006 season when Garvan was just 17 but his midfield maturity was obvious from the start.

But a bout of shingle last summer was followed by post-viral fatigue syndrome and it was November before he made his first senior appearance.

Despite his health problems, however, he is out on his own as the club's most valuable asset and would probably be worth in the region of £2 million in the transfer market.

Should he stick to his guns and quit the game, Town, already £36m in the red, would be the main losers.

If he is only seeking to move elsewhere, in which case one would have expected him to submit an official transfer request, Town would at least be compensated with a sizeable fee.

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