Bid for Stephen Henderson unlikely as interest in Harry Forrester cools

Stephen Henderson, pictured during his loan spell at Ipswich Town

Stephen Henderson, pictured during his loan spell at Ipswich Town - Credit: Archant

The summer mission was always to keep the crux of a tried and trusted squad together – and already that mission is almost complete as Ipswich Town close in on the signing of Daryl Murphy.

Having finished the 2012/13 season in top-six form, Blues boss Mick McCarthy said his priority was to sign the loan players who had made such a positive impact during a dramatic turnaround in fortunes.

David McGoldrick showed intelligent movement and an eye for goal during his spell from Nottingham Forest, while midfielder Jay Tabb brought tenacity and creativity in equal measure when borrowed from Reading. Both have agreed two-year contracts.

The Blues are now close to announcing a deal for frontman Murphy following his release by Celtic, the powerful striker having played an unsung role during his third loan spell at Portman Road.

Now all that’s left is to sign right-back Richard Stearman.

Expect this one to rumble on a little longer as relegated Wolves – whose chief executive Jez Moxley notoriously drives a hard bargain – play a game of cat and mouse over a player who still has another year left on his contract.

The 25-year-old was valued at £1m back in January, but the Blues know the Midlands club have to dramatically lower their wage bill.

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Cole Skuse – who will join on a Bosman-free transfer from Bristol City at the start of next month – will add leadership, an eye for a pass and some more Championship know-how in the centre of midfield.

The pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place, but there is still work to be done.

A goalkeeper is needed to provide competition to Scott Loach, though the EADT understands that moves will not be made for ex-loanee Stephen Henderson – even though he has dropped back to third in the West Ham pecking order following their signing of Adrian from Real Betis.

Lee Camp – released by Norwich – was a top target, but wage demands are proving restrictive on that deal as the Blues prepare for new Financial Fair Play rules.

Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith need back-up at centre-back. Town have held talks with released Sunderland defender Matthew Kilgallon, but face stiff competition from Championship rivals Wigan, Birmingham and Blackburn.

One or two pacey widemen are also on the shopping list, but the level of target could depend on whether buyers are found for high-earning transfer-listed duo Michael Chopra and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Fulham are understood to be interested in the latter, while the former – the club’s top-earner on £18,000-a-week – has reiterated that ‘he doesn’t have to go anywhere’ on social networking website Twitter.

Town had been keeping close tabs on young Brentford winger Harry Forrester, but it’s understood that concerns over his consistency has seen interest cool.

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