Can Ipswich hold on to Wickham in the summer?

IPSWICH TOWN: Connor Wickham has become a major talking point in football again after his wonder solo goal against Sheffield United and his well-taken hat-trick in Tuesday’s 6-0 Championship win at Doncaster Rovers.

And Town fans may have to brace themselves for waving goodbye to the striker in the summer if a major bid comes in.

The 17-year-old has been on the radar of top clubs since before he made his senior Blues debut as a 16-year-old against Doncaster in April 2009 three matches before Jim Magilton was replaced by Roy Keane.

And this interest will have been intensified in the last few weeks with the striker proving beyond doubt the huge potential that he possesses.

He obviously cannot leave Portman Road until the transfer window opens again, but the question on all Town supporters’ lips is whether Paul Jewell can hold on to his hot property in the summer?

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Jewell’s arrival has brought the best out of Wickham, and a host of others in the Ipswich squad, and he would no doubt like to keep him at Ipswich long-term.

This cannot be ruled out by any means, but every player has his price and Town would have to seriously consider any bid over �6million while the lad and his advisors would also have no alternative than to weigh up the benefits both financial and player-wise of a move to a top Premier League club.

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New Ipswich Under-18 coach Russell Osman, who started work on Tuesday, can see the pluses in Wickham continuing to play first team football rather than be swallowed up too early perhaps at a higher level.

“I’ve watched Connor’s progress and he’s done very well over the last couple of years both with Ipswich and on the international scene,” said Osman.

“It’s good to see him still here and learning his trade and reaping the benefits.

“A lot of people have put in a lot of time and effort into him here.

“Hopefully he’ll benefit from being here longer, and so will the football club.

“All Ipswich fans would like to see him here for 10 years, but realistically that is probably not going to happen.”

Osman will be taking charge of Town Under-18’s against Norwich on Saturday, and he quipped: “I’ll ask but I’m not quite sure whether Paul (Jewell) will allow Connor to play in the youth team this weekend.”

Ipswich are set to add experienced defender Habib Beye to their playing squad with the 33-year-old joining from Aston Villa on loan.

Jewell has not confirmed the move, but he did say that he would like to bring in new players by Saturday’s home game against Hull City.

Reports in Birmingham suggest Beye will come on a month’s deal with a view to staying until the end of the season.

Villa boss Gerard Houllier recently questioned the former Newcastle right back’s commitment to his club, along with that of fellow out-of-favour full-back Stephen Warnock.

Beye is a Senegal international with 35 caps and one goal and was Newcastle’s player of the year in 2008.

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