Youngsters may get the call

BLUES boss Joe Royle is hoping to secure a striker before the loan deadline expires at midnight tonight but if he doesn't then a couple of young players could get their chance.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle is hoping to secure a striker before the loan deadline expires at midnight tonight but if he doesn't then a couple of young players could get their chance.

Dean Bowditch and Billy Clarke scored, and impressed, in the reserves' 4-2 win at reserve league title-holders Charlton last night, while Ian Westlake also netted before going off injured.

Royle also watched Jay Bothroyd, Jonatan Johansson and Kevin Lisbie, in action for Charlton Reserves but it is unlikely if long-term target Johansson or former Norwich City loanee Lisbee will be made available.


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If Royle doesn't land an experienced striker today then impressive young Irishman Clarke could well be in Town's squad travelling to Cardiff for Monday night's televised game.

Royle last night said: “Time is running out. We have less than 24 hours to bring someone in and it is not looking too hopeful. I'm still waiting to hear back from two phone calls but at this late stage I have to admit I'm not overly confident.”

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Something may yet still happen but Town's need became even more urgent when Sam Parkin underwent surgery last night to have metal pins inserted to try to cure a broken ankle suffered before Town went down 3-0 to Reading.

Royle said: “We will lose Sam for up to four months and that is a big blow for us. We are looking to get someone in time but we have some good youngsters who may get a chance.”

Parkin said: “It is really gutting to get this injury and to be out for so long. I didn't realise how bad it was when I landed but I went home on crutches and it hurt like hell when I was in bed so I knew something was serious.”

Royle was impressed with the Town youngsters at The Valley last night and hinted that Clarke could make his squad.

He said: “Billy did very well, as did Dean Bowditch and Scott Barron, and they will be pushing.

“There were others too in an exciting display but it is far too early yet to say who will be playing.

“We also have Adam Proudlock coming back and he has a chance.”

Westlake limped off with a foot injury after kicking a Charlton player's studs, but the Blues are confident it is nothing serious.

Bothroyd and Lisbie got the Charlton goals in an end-to-end game, with Shane Supple once again impressing.

Charlton Athletic Res: Elliott, Cottell, Ashton, Wilson, Sorando, Brandao, John, Phillips, Bothroyd, Lisbie and Johansson. Subs: Walker, Nielson, Weston, Clifford and Springer.

Ipswich Town Res: Supple, Moore, Barron, Westlake (Haynes, 27), Collins, Casement, Peters, Trotter, Bowditch, Clarke (Knights, 89) and Craig. Subs: Lordan and Ainsley.

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