Jones on brink of Liverpool move following positive talks
BRAD JONES should complete his dream switch to Liverpool within the next few days after Middlesbrough accepted the Australian would not play again for them. After having an initial offer of around £2m rejected for the Boro No 1, negotiations with the Anfield club continued over the weekend and significant progress was made. So much so that Jones, suspended for the opener with Ipswich, was not even at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, having cleared out his locker in the hope a deal would be struck. Now he is awaiting the goahead to put the finishing touches to a deal that will see him become Pepe Reina's deputy at Liverpool, leaving Middlesbrough pursuing Crystal Palace shot-stopper Julian Speroni. Strachan had no update to report after the defeat to Ipswich, but he will be keen to use the finance raised from the deal to further strengthen his squad. Saturday's performance highlighted the need to add further creativity, particularly down the flanks. The need for that has been further hammered home by the news that Willo Flood, who lasted just 11 minutes of his first appearance since suffering ankle ligament damage in early March, is facing further time on the sidelines. Willo has dislocated his knee and we won't see him for a long time, said Strachan, who would still like to add one of two Scottish wingers, Craig Conway and Andrew Driver, to his ranks, plus at least one other defender if Matt Kilgallon arrives on loan from Sunderland. He's had an horrific day. He's been gradually coming back because he had a bad injury in March. He's a guy who is well loved in the dressing room and you miss characters like that. Strachan struggled to hide his frustrations after the defeat. After a promising start, in which Scott McDonald put Middlesbrough ahead inside 22 minutes, Ipswich were allowed back into things immediately after half-time. Tommy Smith and Tamas Priskin's goals turned the scoreline around before Jon Stead finished things off 12 minutes from time with a sweet volley, much to Strachan's disbelief. He now loses Kevin Thomson, Kris Boyd, Barry Robson and Stephen McManus to Scotland duty this week and he admits his new players don't have the luxury of a settling in period if promotion is to be achieved this season. There are a lot of people out there, Kevin and Kris, you'd expect better performances from, said Strachan. We didn't have many to the level you'd expect and we'll have to look into that and see why we didn't. There's no point just saying the players are to blame, you have to look at the coaching staff and how we prepared for the game as well. First-half we were alright, I thought the deflection off Matthew Bates on their first goal was a bit unfair, it was going well wide. We needed to be more positive but we were negative and that can backfire on you. The best team won. We had two good chances at 2-1, oneon- one, but couldn't take them, so we have to blame ourselves for getting beat and well done to Ipswich for taking their chances and doing well. The game doesn't wait for you, you don't get much time, you have to just get on with it.
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