Forster by Royle appointment

Ipswich Town yesterday signed one striker, Nicky Forster, and still are hoping to persuade another proven goalscorer to come on board for their next promotion-chasing campaign.

By Dave Vincent

Ipswich Town yesterday signed one striker, Nicky Forster, and still are hoping to persuade another proven goalscorer to come on board for their next promotion-chasing campaign.

Reading striker Forster turned down a one-year deal at the Madejski Stadium to come to Portman Road on a Bosman free transfer instead.

The 31-year-old, who hit nine goals in 30 appearances for the Royals last season, is a new Royle appointment.

Town boss Joe Royle sees him as a direct replacement for Darren Bent, who has gone to Charlton Athletic for £2.5 million, and the first piece in his team re-building jigsaw.

The speedy frontman has often impressed against Town, and two years ago hit a hat-trick in Berkshire against what has now become his new club.

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Forster, after six years with Reading, said: “I am hungry to do well. By my standards I have had a frustrating couple of years and I am looking forward to changing that. I am raring to go. When Joe Royle came in for me I had to be interested.

“At Reading, they are changing things and I felt it was time for me to have a new and fresh challenge.

“The ambition of the club, and David and Joe's matches my own. I am delighted to be here.

“I have played here a few times, as Joe said, and enjoyed myself here.

“The club is fantastic. From the moment we drove in, myself and my fiancee, we realised how friendly the club was, from the guys on the gates.

“I am looking forward to scoring a few goals here this season. Everyone comes to Ipswich, and sees the pitch, and they say, this is lovely, I can really play here.

“I am very proud and appreciative I have been given the chance to play here, week in week out.”

Forster's view of his own game is illuminating. “I am a player who plays on the shoulder of the last defender, looking for the ball behind or to feet.

“I am looking to play and commit the defenders, winning a few free-kicks and penalties. I am a direct sort of player. I am fairly positive and I am productive as well.”

Royle, looking tanned and fit from his Spanish holiday, said Forster had always impressed against Ipswich.

“He has always been a pain in the backside against us. He has been a terrific player, very lively with great movement in the box.

“I am confident he will fit in well and score goals for us, like Benty did. He has been the top in this division and in the divisional side too.”

The Ipswich boss wants to team him up with hot-property hitman Sam Parkin, from Swindon Town. The 24 year-old former Chelsea youth player has several other suitors though, and will cost around £500,000.

He was also in Ipswich yesterday for talks with Royle and chairman David Sheepshanks and had a look around the stadium and training ground.

He went away to think over Town's offer, while Swindon are looking for the best financial deal they can get. The interest of other bidders, Watford and, perhaps Norwich City, could yet prove to be a stumbling block.

Ipswich want Parkin to take Shefki Kuqi's place in the squad, after the Finnish international decided to take his talents to the Premiership instead, also on a Bosman.

Chairman Sheepshanks welcomed Forster to Ipswich and stressed they were working hard to bring in further recruits.

“We are delighted to have Nick here on a two-year contract. We hope he will be as prolific and successful as he has been over his career.”

When asked about Parkin he said: “The other deal is progressing. Watch this space.”

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