Unsworth joins Blues on loan

Joe Royle's final piece for his promotion-chasing squad jigsaw is former England defender David Unsworth, who is joining Ipswich on loan from Premiership Portsmouth for the rest of the season.

Joe Royle's final piece for his promotion-chasing squad jigsaw is former England defender David Unsworth, who is joining Ipswich on loan from Premiership Portsmouth for the rest of the season.

Versatile Unsworth, 31, who can play in defence or midfield, was with Joe Royle's Everton at Goodison Park and was a key member of his 1995 FA Cup-winning team.

He is looking forward to linking up with his mentor again and playing regular first-team football.

An influx of new players is expected at Pompey, which will limit his first-team chances.

It was rumoured that former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp would try to take him to Southampton, but instead he is coming to Suffolk.

Unsworth earned his only England cap when playing for Royle and played two of his best games in the 1995 cup run, marking Jurgen Klinsmann in the semi-final against Spurs and then outwitting Mark Hughes in the final against Manchester United.

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Royle, at the club's training camp in Tenerife, said: “Our chairman is completing the paperwork, but the player has agreed to sign for us and Portsmouth are also happy to go ahead.”

The plan is for Unsworth to join up with Ipswich for training on Monday and be available to make his debut the following Saturday against promotion rivals Sheffield United.

Royle added: “He is an experienced player and he will give us more defensive strength for the final 16 games of the season.”

Royle sees him stepping in at left-back, initially, a position filled by Matt Richards, Fabian Wilnis and Arsenal loanee Daniel Karbassiyoon this term. The American has been selected to start the last four games.

Unsworth began his career at Everton and has changed hands for £6 million pounds in two £3 million transfers. He is known as a leader on the pitch.

He also played for West Ham, then signed for Aston Villa but did not play a competitive game for them before returning to Everton in 1998 and then moving, on a free, to Portsmouth in July last year.

This season he has played 15 games, scoring two goals and collecting five yellow cards.

His last game was Saturday's heavy defeat at Chelsea, which revived Pompey's relegation worries with the teams below them all collecting points.

Manager Velimir Zajec is determined to ring the changes and is allowing several players to leave to make space in his squad for new signings. Amdy Faye has been sold to Newcastle, Nigel Quashie to Southampton to join Harry Redknapp and Richard Duffy has gone on loan to Coventry City.

Unsworth, who had done well for Redknapp since being signed last summer, will be well down the pecking order if Zajec brings in his targets which include Kostas Katsouranis of AEK Athens and several other Greek players as well as Russian international striker Dmitri Bulykin from Dinamo Moscow.

n The Wales Under-21 squad to play Germany in a UEFA Championship Group Six qualifier at Wrexham on February 8 includes Ipswich goalkeeper Lewis Price and former Academy defender Lee Beevers, now with Boston United.

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