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Sunday, 13 August, 2000, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Ipswich set sights on survival
David Johnson
David Johnson is being urged to make a big impact
Ipswich Town 2000/2001 preview

Ipswich will rightly regard it as a triumph if they can stay in the Premiership.

They will at the very least hope to improve on their abject showing the last time they were in the top flight.

In 1994/1995 Ipswich were beaten a record 29 times, finished with just 27 points and lost 9-0 to Manchester United along the way.

Manager George Burley will hope that the euphoria generated by the 4-2 play-off final win over Barnsley in May can lift his side in the new season.

Indeed all 18,000 season tickets available at Portman Road have already been sold.

Few signings

Burley has not added significantly to his squad during the pre-season.

  Transfers in
John Scales (Tottenham), free
Martijn Reuser (Vitesse Arnhem), 1m
Keith Branagan (Bolton), free

Martijn Reuser, who scored Ipswich's winning play-off goal at Wembley, has joined from Vitesse Arnhem for 1m after being on loan last season.

The experienced pair of John Scales and Keith Branagan are Ipswich's other summer additions, signing on free transfers.

But Ipswich demoralisingly missed out on Bolton midfielder Claus Jensen, who chose to join Charlton even though Ipswich matched their fee of 4m.

Fans will be buoyed by the decisions of star players Richard Wright and David Johnson to sign new contracts however.

Wright was in England's Euro 2000 squad and was put on the transfer list after saying he wanted to leave.

Martijn Reuser
Resuer was signed for 1m
But the 22-year-old changed his mind and signed a new two-year contract.

Johnson has signed for four years and Burley is challenging him to become the next Kevin Phillips.

He believes the 23-year-old striker can make the same explosive impact as the Sunderland marksman did in his first season in the top flight.

"David has so much strength and pace that there is no reason why he can't do the same as Kevin Phillips," he said.

David Johnson

"There's no reason at all why he can't make Kevin Keegan sit up and take notice.

"We have a number of players who Keegan will look at if they prove they can perform at the highest level."

Johnson has now scored 55 league goals in less than three seasons at Portman Road.

Whatever happens, Burley is adamant that his side will continue to play the passing football that he learnt as a player at Portman Road under Bobby Robson.

"Our style won't change and I hope our style will suit the Premiership.

  Transfers out
Marco Holster (Go Ahead Eagles), free
Jonas Axedal, released
John Kennedy, released
Mick Stockwell, released

"That's the way I was brought up and I wouldn't want to preach or teach a team of mine to play any differently.

"I believe in my style and I believe it will be successful," he said.

Whether such admirable principles get results remains to be seen.

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See also:

03 Aug 00 |  Ipswich Town
Wright staying with Ipswich
24 Jul 00 |  Ipswich Town
Portman Road sell-out
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