Bruce set to walk away from Town

FANS' favourite Alex Bruce is set to leave Ipswich Town by the close of the January window.

Elvin King

FANS' favourite Alex Bruce is set to leave Ipswich Town by the close of the January window.

And this is despite being offered a new two-year contract by the club.

The 24-year-old central defender is earmarked to play at the heart of the Blues defence in the Coca-Cola Championship fixture at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

But it is believed that he will be turning down the offer.

Bruce is interesting a rival Championship club - he won't be signing for Norwich City - and the indications are that he does not intend signing the offer by Town to extend his contract beyond June.

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His agent Mike Morris has confirmed receipt of the offer, and but it is by no means certain that Bruce will be signing it.

Morris is thought to have discussed the terms of the new deal directly with Blues owner Marcus Evans - a new development in Town player dealings and a sign that Evans is now playing a more hands-on role at Portman Road.

Bruce was told by Town chief executive Derek Bowden last week that a new deal was in the offing, and this was made public by the club yesterday.

With his current contract running out in less than six months, Bruce is at liberty to talk to other clubs, and it is understood that a promotion-chasing Championship rival are very much in the hunt.

Calls from the stands at Portman Road to 'sign him up' have confirmed views of Town fans that they would like the son of Wigan manager Steve to remain with Ipswich.

But unless a new deal is offered it looks as though he will be on his way.

With Ivan Campo out for up to a month with a calf injury sustained in the 1-1 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, Bruce is due to play beside team, captain Gareth McAuley at Selhurst Park this weekend.

He was given the nod by manager Jim Magilton over Moritz Volz to fill the right back spot against the Owls with David Wright out of action with a hamstring problem.

Bruce has signed two suspensions this season - a total of seven games - after collecting two red cards, but his wholehearted approach has made him a big favourite at Portman Road and he is still emerging as a defender of genuine quality.

He has always said that he wants to stay with the Blues, but the indications are that he feels his career would be better served elsewhere.

Bowden said yesterday: “We have been holding talks with Alex's representative over the past week or so and I can confirm that a new two-year contract has been offered.”

A scan has confirmed that Campo has torn a calf muscle. The former Bolton and Real Madrid man is now on crutches.

Physio Matt Byard said: “Ivan has had a scan and there is a tear to his calf muscle. It's probably going to be about three weeks before we can get him out on the training ground and then he's got to get back to match fitness from there.”.