Winger to be offered deal

TRICKY winger Dean McDonald is to be offered an Ipswich Town contract next week after twice impressing for the reserves, writes Derek Davis.The 18-year-old, who was released from Arsenal's Academy in June last year, will be given the chance to show he can cut it at senior level with a professional deal taking him through until the end of the season.

TRICKY winger Dean McDonald is to be offered an Ipswich Town contract next week after twice impressing for the reserves, writes Derek Davis.

The 18-year-old, who was released from Arsenal's Academy in June last year, will be given the chance to show he can cut it at senior level with a professional deal taking him through until the end of the season.

Although the right-sided attacking midfielder-cum-striker will be in the reserve-team squad, McDonald will have plenty of opportunities to convince Blues boss Joe Royle that he is worthy of stepping into the first-team squad.

With Darren Currie operating wide left, Town do not have a natural right-winger in the squad, although Tommy Miller has done well playing out of position on that side.


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Lambeth-born McDonald, who will turn 19 in four weeks' time, joined the Gunners in the summer of 2002 but was released along with 16 other players last summer.

He was in good company as Martin Keown, Sylvain Wiltord, Kanu and Giovanni van Bronckhorst were also told their Arsenal days were over.

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Liam Chilvers was also culled from the squad that day and found a new home at Colchester United.

McDonald played in pre-season games for Boston, Farnborough Town and Wycombe Wanderers without landing a contract, but Town scouts spotted his potential and handed him a six-week trial.

The diminutive forward, playing in a three-man attack, thrilled a small number of Blues fans in appearances against Watford and Portsmouth and will make his third appearance in Town's second string when they visit Coventry next Tuesday.

Monaco midfielder Jimmy Juan is also expected to make his Blues bow for the reserves after returning to Ipswich from France last night to complete the paperwork on his season-long loan.

Former Liverpool youngster John Paul Kelly is another who could make Steve McCall's side for the trip to the Midlands after spending this week with the Republic of Ireland Under-19s playing friendlies in Italy.

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