Bolton eye Town star

IPSWICH Town, at the centre of a transfer maelstrom, are trying to ride out the storm without losing any players. With the transfer window now flung wide open, the EADT can reveal that: Bolton are tracking Shefki Kuqi.

By Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town, at the centre of a transfer maelstrom, are trying to ride out the storm without losing any players.

With the transfer window now flung wide open, the EADT can reveal that:

Bolton are tracking Shefki Kuqi.

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Ipswich have asked about Dean Ashton's availability.

Town target Graham Stuart has been told he is free to leave Charlton.

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Blues boss Joe Royle has ruled out bringing in Duncan Ferguson and Les Ferdinand.

Royle last night admitted he had made moves for two players.

He confirmed: “I have asked about a couple of people to bring in but we would only take one of them.”

Royle also insisted that no club had made a firm bid for any Town players, although they have had some general enquiries, including one from Norwich City about 11-goal Darren Bent's availability.

They gave the same sort of answer as they received themselves from Crewe when they asked about Ashton last month.

Royle said: “We are not in for Ashton. Where would we get £3m from?”

The only way to pay that sort of money would be to sell players and Town have made it clear they want to bolster the squad - not lose anyone.

That has not stopped a number of clubs checking on Bent - but they have been scared off - and Bolton boss Sam Allardyce checking on Town's top-scorer Kuqi, who has already hit a dozen goals this season.

The Trotters, who come to Portman Road for the FA Cup on Saturday, are considering making a move for the Finn if their bid to land Russian striker Dimitri Bulykin this week fails.

Bolton want to take the international on loan until the end of the season with an option to buy but his club, Moscow Dynamo, want a £2m fee for him up front.

If agreement can't be reached, Allardyce has earmarked Kuqi as the man to help stave off relegation.

Although Kuqi's contract ends in the summer, he has an option of a two-year extension should Town win promotion. Ipswich would demand a fee for the player they picked up in an initial free transfer from Sheffield Wednesday but would happily pay the Owls the £150,000 add-on clause installed if they go up.

Kuqi has also made it clear he doesn't want to leave Portman Road, and he is probably playing the best football of his career right now in a team with the Championship title in their sights.

Wanderers are desperate to strengthen, with Allardyce looking to sign four new players this month.

With Simon Davies out for at least a month with a hamstring injury, and the contract of Les Ferdinand scrapped by mutual consent, a striker is a priority, with only El Hadji Diouf fit for the game against Town after serving a three-match ban for spitting.

Royle last night dismissed the idea that he would make a move for Ferdinand, who is wanted by Southampton and Reading but could end up with his first league club, QPR.

Royle also ruled out going after Everton front-man Ferguson, whose departure from Goodison Park could be hastened by the arrival of James Beattie from Southampton.

Royle said: “We won't be going after Duncan.”

It was the same story with Charlton midfielder Stuart, who has been told by Alan Curbishley that he is free to leave The Valley.

The Blues tried to get Stuart on loan earlier in the season but it appears the interest has waned.

Royle said: “Graham may be leaving Charlton but he isn't coming to Ipswich.”

Two players who are coming to Ipswich are Jimmy Juan and Miguel Angel Martinez. Both have been handed a six-day trial, which starts on Thursday, when the first team squad return to training.

Juan was brought over from Monaco in France as part of the tie up between the two clubs.

Academy director Bryan Klug was in Monaco last week and Town agreed to give the 21-year-old midfielder, who has been on the bench for them in a Champions' League match, the once over and he may be invited to stay on loan until the end of the season.

Martinez, who will be 21 in a fortnight, is a Paraguayan defender who has played in Argentina with Racing Club but is now a free agent after leaving the Toribo Vargas Stadium in Tacuary.

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