Bristol Rovers boss gives contract update on Town striker target
- Credit: Dougie Allward/JMP
Ipswich Town striker target Jonson Clarke-Harris looks to be in a sign or be sold situation with current employers Bristol Rovers.
The 26-year-old front man has bagged 27 goals in 49 appearances over two seasons with the Gas and, as a result, has plenty of suitors as he enters the final year of his contract at the Memorial Stadium.
It’s understood that the Blues have him on a list of striker targets – a position that boss Paul Lambert has made top priority to strengthen this summer.
If Rovers can’t get Clarke-Harris to commit to a new deal then they may reluctantly be forced to cash in now – his current market value understood to be estimated at around £700k – rather than risk losing him for a lot less come January, or even nothing next summer.
Speaking to Bristol Live about the striker’s contract situation, Rovers boss Ben Garner said: “We haven’t put a timeframe on things. It’s a case of assessing how we now move forward through pre-season.
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“We’re having conversations, I think there is some common ground there in terms of what all parties want. It’s just a case of seeing if it works for everyone.
“He’s working hard in pre-season to get himself fit and sharp in time for the new season and that’s my focus.
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“You never know in football, you don’t know what’s around the corner but Jonno knows how highly we think of him at the club. He’s had a wonderful career to date at Rovers and we’re hoping that continues into this season and beyond.
“We’ll see how we go through pre-season and into the season but I’m hopeful he wants to stay, we want him to stay and build on what he’s done so far at this club.
“There are discussions that have taken place and they will continue over the next few weeks. We need to see where that goes.
“We have a set structure in place as a club that we don’t break, that we don’t go beyond because that has been the downfall of this club in previous years.
“We’ve got a structure that we work to, but we’re hopeful of retaining our best players within that.”
Rovers have had a busy time in the transfer market in recent weeks. Several senior players were released at the end of their deals, including Liam Sercombe, Tony Craig, Tom Nichols and Ollie Clarke, with five new players subsequently signed in the form of Max Ehmer (Gillingham, free), Jack Baldwin (Sunderland, free), Sam Nicholson (Colorado Rapids, free), Josh Grant (Chelsea, free) and Jonah Ayunga (Havant & Waterlooville, undisclosed).
Following the release of Will Keane, Ipswich currently have three senior strikers in the form of James Norwood, Kayden Jackson and Freddie Sears.