DAVID SMITH - Friday, February 5, 2010
With delays from required compensation for previous youth stints finally cleared, Devann Yao has been given a four-month chance to show coach Roy Keane he deserves a permanent spot on Ipswich Town's roster.
The club had already stated their intention to sign the New York native to a contract earlier in the fall, but spells as a youngster at FC Metz, AS Livorno, Pisa and St. Mirren complicated matters significantly.
Ipswich team officials finally announced the short-term deal earlier in the week, describing what amounts to an extended trial for the remainder of the league season allowing Yao to convince Keane he is fitting for a longer stay at Portman Road.
"Basically the manager [Roy Keane] signed Devann with a view to see him push on and try to stake his claim for a first-team place," Town press manager Steve Pearce told YA.
With the team struggling just above the drop zone and unable to gain a firm footing so far throughout their difficult season, the young attacker's future with the team is directly tied to how he can contribute to their quest for survival.
"He signed him to give him a chance to get into the first team, so he's got four months to show that he's worth keeping on," Pearce continues.
A bad laceration in his shin had kept Yao on the sidelines for several weeks as the team negotiated through the red tape prior to the contract offer, but with several weeks of full practice under his belt he is slowly pushing towards his first-ever professional appearance.
"He's been back for a couple of weeks," Pearce confirms. "He's not going to be in the squad for tomorrow's game [against Middlesbrough]," he continues, concluding "he's a little way away still."
Ipswich are currently 21st place in The Championship, clinging onto the last non-relegation spot with a three-point cushion over FC Reading.
Roy Keane's men face a pesky Middlesbrough team on Saturday afternoon before quickly hitting the road to challenge Queens Park Rangers three days later.