Forster favourite for Town

By David VincentIpswich Town seem to be winning the race to sign Reading's pacey front-man Nicky Forster.Forster is the type of experienced front man Joe Royle wants to add to what is certain to be a very young squad next season.

By David Vincent

Ipswich Town seem to be winning the race to sign Reading's pacey front-man Nicky Forster.

Forster is the type of experienced front man Joe Royle wants to add to what is certain to be a very young squad next season.

Town's tight finances mean he will have to pick up bargains available in the free transfer market place and Forster, who is looking for a two-year contract, fits the bill.


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Royle faces competition from a host of Championship clubs for 31-year-old Forster, who has refused to sign a new deal at the Madejski Stadium.

The popular player struck 67 goals in his six years with Reading, since signing from Birmingham City, with 179 starts as well as 34 appearances as a substitute.

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He was down the pecking order last season but still scored seven goals in his 30 games.

Forster would seem the ideal replacement for Darren Bent in Royle's starting line-up.

But Royle will have to be at his most persuasive with other clubs interested including the likes of Burnley, QPR, Stoke, and Sheffield United.

One alternative target, former Scotland target-man Duncan Ferguson, has agreed a new one-year deal at Goodison Park.

Royle has frequently been linked with the 33-year-old whom he knows well from his time in charge at Everton.

Sunderland are hoping that £1 million target Kelvin Davis will make up his mind and sign for them this week.

With Roy Carroll now looking likely to sign for promoted West Ham United, it reduces the options for both the Black Cats and the keeper they want for the Premiership.

Ipswich would then be in the market place for a replacement for Davis, who starred in their Championship campaign.

Although Mick McCarthy has investigated other targets, including Carroll, Davis is his preferred choice.

This summer there could be a tremendous merry-go-round of goalkeeper moves.

Royle is aiming to bring in an experienced stopper ahead of Welsh under-21 keeper Lewis Price and highly-rated Irish teenager Shane Supple if Davies goes.

And he could have plenty of choice.

One former England keeper, Ian Walker, released by Leicester City, is already looking for a new club.

And former Town favourite Richard Wright, whose career has been fragmented since he left Portman Road four years ago, could be on the move again.

David Moyes wants to sign Chelsea's No. 2 keeper, Italian Carlo Cudicini.

Moyes wants to groom him to take over from Nigel Martyn, the former England stopper who is 39 this year, to play in the Champions' League.

This new snub for Wright could see him quitting Merseyside.

When Wright departed Portman Road in July 2001 for a dream £6 million move to Highbury it seemed the best deal for everybody involved.

Town needed the money for team-building, Arsenal needed a hot yoing talent to replace David Seaman and for Wright it was the chance to win honours and enhance his England prospects.

He did collect a championship medal but his first season under Arsene Wenger was a disappointment.

Ageing David Seaman remained the first choice in league games. And though Wright played in every round of their FA Cup run it was David Seaman who was given the No. 1 shirt for the final against Chelsea.

Wright's Arsenal career ended when he was rescued by David Moyes in July 2002, who parted with a £3.5 million fee (rising to £4.5 million on appearances) to take him north.

He did well for Everton in 2002/3 and earned a recall to Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad.

But he was plagued by injury the following season, including a mysterious recurring knee problem and rarely featured.

And though he returned to fitness last season veteran Nigel Martyn continued to get the nod ahead of him.

Wright only made seven starts for Everton last season and conceded 20 goals, including the seven hit by a rampant Arsenal in May.

In total he has made 44 appearances for Everton making him a very expensive signing in terms of the return received for the fee.

His England career has also stalled and only regular first team football can revive it.

Having represented his country at youth, under-21 and B internationals while with Town he was the rising star in the department.

As a first choice in Peter Taylor's successful England under-21 team, a long career in the senior side looked certain to follow.

Instead he has been forgotten as a new generation of keepers have come through for their country.

david.vincent@eadt.co.uk

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