Jewell blunted in Sharp raid

IPSWICH TOWN: Marcus Evans’ financial backing of the Paul Jewell regime is set to be given its first serious test after Doncaster Rovers turned down a �2.6million bid for Billy Sharp and James Coppinger.

The Ipswich Town boss has fired an early summer salvo by attempting to land the Doncaster duo within days of the Championship season ending.

But he has seen his plans scuppered by Rovers chairman John Ryan who yesterday blew the lid on Town’s ambitious raid while describing the pair as “pivotal” to his team’s own plans.

Now Jewell must decide whether they are worth more than the initial bids of �2.3million for Sharp and �300,000 for Coppinger, Rovers’ longest-serving player. Then it will be over to Evans, and chief executive Simon Clegg, to show their manager backing in the transfer market.

The pursuit of Sharp has particularly excited Town fans with Jewell seemingly identifying the Rovers’ top goalscorer as his number one summer target and the perfect foil for Connor Wickham.

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What is clear is that the Town manager seems to be looking foremost for a proven goalscorer as opposed to taking a chance in the lower leagues.

But such desires don’t come cheap and Jewell must weigh up whether Sharp is worth tabling a bid closer to �3million – something that is likely to divide Blues fans.

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The Doncaster striker scored 16 times this season but only made 29 starts during an injury-hampered campaign. So Ryan’s claim yesterday that his number one forward could be among the top scorers next year shouldn’t be too far off the mark.

The interest in Coppinger shows Jewell, who remained tight-lipped yesterday, believes his side needs more flair and creativity from the wide positions.

Doncaster’s reasoning for making the joint bid public is understandable as the selling club, but while Ryan said all the right things yesterday, Sharp, especially, might be available if Rovers can make a healthy profit on the �1.15million they spent on the player less than a year ago.

Ryan said: “Sharp and Coppinger are without doubt wonderful players who are getting better and better. I’m very confident, if they both remain fit, they will influence our campaign in a very positive way.

“I’m confident Billy can notch 25 goals next season.”

n Is Billy the man to bang in the goals for Town next season and, if so, at what price? Let us know at

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