Ipswich Town eyeing striker Graham, with Sunderland also keen

Ipswich Town have shown interest in ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Danny Graham. Photo: PA

Ipswich Town have shown interest in ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Danny Graham. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town have shown an interest in former Blackburn Rovers striker Danny Graham, we understand.

The 34-year-old is a free agent after leaving Ewood Park at the end of last season, having initially been brought to Rovers by current Town boss Paul Lambert in 2016.

He scored 50 goals in 174 games for Rovers, including 17 as Tony Mowbray’s side won promotion from League One in 2017/18, but netted just four times in 39 games last season.

Town are in the market for a striker this summer, with target man Graham understood to be one who Lambert believes would fit the bill.

The Blues are understood to face significant competition from League One rivals Sunderland, who hold Graham in high regard and have themselves made an offer. As well as Graham, Sunderland are also understood to be rivalling Town for the signatures of both Luke Garbutt and goalkeeper Remi Matthews.

Sunderland’s interest could see Graham return to the Stadium of Light and a club he represented between 2013 and 2016. He scored just one goal in 42 games for the Black Cats, have joined the then Premier League club for around £5million, and spent much of his time at the club on loan with the likes of Hull, Middlesbrough, Wolves and then Blackburn.

It was there he linked up with Lambert, with the Scot signing him on loan in January 2016 and seeing him net seven times as Rovers pulled themselves clear of relegation.

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Lambert departed that summer but, soon after doing so, urged Rovers to sign Graham full-time, which they ultimately did.

MORE: Ipswich face competition from Sunderland for goalkeeper Matthews

“Danny’s been excellent for us since he’s been at the football club,” Lambert said of Graham shortly before his exit from Blackburn.

“It’s very difficult for loan players when they come in and you’re getting toward the tail end of the season.

“It’s easy for them to switch off but that’s not been the case with Danny. He’s been excellent.

“His work rate, what he’s like around the place and off the field; he’s all the things you want from an experienced player.

“He’s been there, seen it and done it. He’s been a massive player for us.”

Following the departure of Will Keane, Town’s only two out-and-out strikers are James Norwood and Kayden Jackson, with both the subject of transfer interest this summer. Norwood has been eyed by Fleetwood and Dundee United, while Jackson is of interest to Coventry City.

Freddie Sears has played much of his football as a wide forward in recent seasons, while young striker Ben Folami, Aaron Drinan and Ben Morris have been training with Lambert’s first-team squad during the early weeks of pre-season training.

It remains to be seen how Town’s recruitment this summer will be impacted by the newly-introduced League One salary cap, restricting clubs to an annual wagebill of £2.5m.

Town’s is at least double that figure but will fit under the cap this season given the relief included in the regulations, which sees deals signed prior to the introduction of the rules counted at the League One average - £113,000 a year of a little under £2,000 a week.

Any deals agreed now will count as their true figure, though, meaning a player signed on £5,000 a week would count towards the cap on that number.