Ipswich Town seriously considering a ‘pay as you play’ deal for Titus Bramble

Titus Bramble, pictured during a pre-season friendly last summer

Titus Bramble, pictured during a pre-season friendly last summer - Credit: Archant

Titus Bramble could be set for a sensational return to Ipswich Town as manager Mick McCarthy looks to bolster his small squad within the restrictions of a tight budget.

The 32-year-old centre-back rejoined his hometown club on trial last summer, following his release by Sunderland, and played in pre-season friendlies against Gillingham and Barnet.

It’s understood that he was close to joining a Turkish club until a knee injury flared up and that he has been back training at his hometown club sporadically during the season to maintain fitness as he weighs up his options.

When rumours first circulated of Bramble returning at the end of last November, McCarthy played down the prospect of a short-term deal. However, with Tyrone Mings currently the only cover to the first choice back four of Luke Chambers, Christophe Berra, Tommy Smith and Aaron Cresswell, it’s understood that the Blues boss – whose side have conceded seven soft goals in three successive defeats – is now considering making his move.

“I’ve always said that one day I will come back and play for Ipswich again,” said Bramble, during his trial last July. “Whether it’s now or in a couple of years time, who knows?

“Ipswich is in my heart. I’m born and bred from the town, so it means everything to me. I’ve always looked out for their results ever since I left and it’s been disappointing to see them struggle at times because I think they should be a Premiership club.”

Bramble may have had his critics, but he played in the Premier League for the previous 13 seasons. A regular for the Blues during their last stint in the top-flight (2000/01, 01/02), he made a £6m switch to Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle before moving to Wigan (2007) and Sunderland (2010).

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He became a free agent last summer following a season blighted by hip, calf and Achilles injuries though and could be tempted by a ‘pay as you play’ type deal similar to the one which recently brought Stephen Hunt to the club.

McCarthy said recently that he would be restricted to loans and free transfers during this month’s transfer window. During yesterday’s live webchat, 76% of Town fans polled said that owner Marcus Evans should open his cheque book, with 75% saying that midfield was the position which needed strengthening the most.

Just 4% said that Town would make the play-offs this season, though 64% believe McCarthy can continue to take the club in the right direction given time.