CONTRACT NEWS: Grant Leadbitter confirms he is leaving Ipswich Town

GRANT Leadbitter has confirmed that he will be leaving Ipswich Town on a Bosman free transfer this summer.

The 26-year-old – who has suddenly hit form in the second half of the season following a disappointing start to the campaign – told manager Paul Jewell this afternoon that he would not be signing a new contract.

Town have once again missed out on a transfer fee for one of their most saleable assets, with Gareth McAuley and David Norris both walking away for nothing at the end of their deals last summer.

Leadbitter – who was made captain by Jewell at the start of the season – said: “I have turned down the offer of a new deal at Ipswich and I will be leaving at the end of the season.

“It was a really tough decision, but I feel I am ready for a new challenge at this stage of my career.

“I never spoke to Ipswich about finances, I just feel the time is right for a new challenge and a new experience.

“I would like to thank the club for bringing me here in the first place and I have had a great three years here.”

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The midfielder, who was brought to Portman Road by Roy Keane from Sunderland for a fee of �2.65m, has been linked with Championship clubs Middlesbrough and Brighton in recent weeks.

“The fans have been brilliant,” said Leadbitter, in his Sky Sports interview. “And I have a lot of time for Paul Jewell. I always got on very well with him and you see how hard he works for the club.

“I have not thought about my future yet. I will be going on holidays soon and I will be keeping my options open before I decide where I want to go.”