Addicks may give up Bent bid

CHARLTON Athletic's interest in Darren Bent may be on the wane after they had a bid for Blackburn Rovers striker Jonathan Stead accepted, writes Derek Davis.

CHARLTON Athletic's interest in Darren Bent may be on the wane after they had a bid for Blackburn Rovers striker Jonathan Stead accepted, writes Derek Davis.

The Addicks and Sunderland both tabled £1.5m offers, with a further £300,000 based on appearances and bonuses, and both have previously shown an interest in Blues striker Bent.

Like the Black Cats, the Addicks have been given permission to talk to Stead and if they succeed in luring him to the Valley they are unlikely to want Bent as well.

That could pave the way for another approach by Mick McCarthy, but the Sunderland boss is not prepared to pay Town's £3m asking price.

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Charlton were keen on a cash-plus-player deal for Bent but Ipswich were not interested, as they would not have been able to meet Francis Jeffers' wage demands.

Bent is keen to test himself in the Premiership and Town will want to cash in on a player who has just one year left on his contract.

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They are also looking to get good money for Kelvin Davis, with Sunderland already making a firm bid which Town have yet to accept.

Blackburn are keen on Shefki Kuqi, who is also a free agent, but he is away with Finland at the moment. They play Denmark in a friendly in Tampere tomorrow and then Holland in a World Cup qualifier in Helsinki next Wednesday.

Another Town player targeted by Sunderland, Tommy Miller, has said he will not make his decision until after his wedding on Saturday. The 26-year-old is going through three of the most stressful things that people face - getting married, selling his house and, possibly, changing jobs.

With Leeds also in the mix, after his representatives held talks at Elland road yesterday, Miller will make his mind up before his current contract with Town expires at the end of June.

He told the EADT: “There is a lot going on for me at the minute and a lot of very important decisions to make.

“I have loved it at Ipswich and have had four great years here. What they offered me is good, but Sunderland does interest me.

“It is a chance to play Premiership football and, as I have said in the past, it is not just abut money for me.”

Town already know they will be without Drissa Diallo and Pablo Counago, who have not been offered new deals for next season.

Although the Spaniard offered to stay with Town on much reduced wages from the £12,000 a week he was on, it was never likely that Blues boss Joe Royle would keep him.

n Another of the Blues' pre-season friendlies has now been confirmed, as Royle's side provide the opposition for Ian Darler's testimonial match at Cambridge United in July.

Darler has been the Abbey's stadium manager for the past 25 years and thanked former Town goalkeeping coach Malcolm Webster for helping to secure Ipswich for the game, which will be played on Wednesday, July 13.

Darler said: “I'm delighted to have received confirmation that Ipswich will bring their first-team for my testimonial match.

“I would to thank Malcolm Webster and Roy McFarland for their part in liaising with Joe Royle to arrange this fixture.”

Town will also play Boston United and Colchester United away, with SPL champions Rangers coming to Portman Road. Other fixtures, including a short trip to Europe, have yet to be confirmed.

n Crystal Palace have underlined their intention to go straight back up by snapping up two players from Championship rivals. Millwall have allowed centre-back Darren Ward to join Palace for £1.1m, while Jobi McAnuff has gone to Selhurst Park from Cardiff City in a £450,000 switch.

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