Ipswich face competition for Sean St Ledger signing

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell hopes to sign transfer-listed Leicester defender Sean St Ledger in time for next Wednesday’s Championship trip to Birmingham.

Jewell tried to sign the 27-year-old from Preston North End in the summer, but was beaten to the transfer by Sven-Goran Eriksson’s big-spending Leicester City.

The Republic of Ireland international fell out with new manager Nigel Pearson following their 1-1 home draw with Ipswich on Boxing Day though – the centre-back disappointed that he had been dropped as soon as Matt Mills’s three-match suspension was over.

The Foxes duly put him on the transfer list and there are now a host of Championship clubs – as well as a team in Italy’s Serie A – that are vying for his signature.

“I’ve spoken to Leicester about his availability,” confirmed Jewell, who had a bid of �1.5m for St Ledger rejected by Preston in the summer.

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“It’s something we are interested in and trying to pursue. There are a few clubs interested in him though, I think there’s one in Serie A, but we hope we can bring him here.

“Leicester have said they’d be prepared to do something so we’ll see if we can get the lad to come here.”

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Asked how how much Leicester were asking for the player, Jewell added: “We haven’t looked that far yet. He’s been transfer listed – we might look to take him on loan with view to a permanent move.

“I’m hoping to have a chat with the player today.”

Jewell is keen to strengthen his squad for the second half of the season following a return of just seven points from a possible 36 – a run which leaves the Blues hovering precariously above the relegation zone.

“I’ve spoken to two managers and one player since Monday’s game,” said the Blues boss.

“I think things will happen after the weekend (Ipswich are at Hull in the FA Cup third round on Saturday). We’re hoping to have a couple of new faces in for the Birmingham game.”

One of those players is St Ledger, with the other unknown at present.

Jewell is still keen to sign midfielder Keith Andrews following his impressive loan spell from Blackburn, but says the Irishman isn’t one of the two players he hopes to have by next week.

The Blues also rubbished rumours linking him with Alan Smith (Newcastle), James Henry (Millwall) and Julian Speroni (Crystal Palace.

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