Keane set to get his man!
IPSWICH TOWN: Roy Keane is set for some good news next week with sought-after striker Connor Wickham ready to sign a three-year professional contract for the Blues.
The Blues manager is keen to have a player of Wickham’s class and potential available as he looks to succeed in his quest to take the Tractor Boys into the Premier League for the 2011/12 season.
Wickham’s decision shows the faith the boy, his parents and his advisors have in Keane’s management and the optimism they have in Ipswich going back to the forefront of English football.
The Colchester-based player celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday and is now eligible to sign a full contract; with Wickham already under a pre-contract agreement.
Once he does Ipswich will be entitled to a realistic fee if he moves on to a top club. Until he signs, the Blues would only be entitled to compensation for bringing him successfully through their academy system.
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Currently away on England Under-17 duty, Wickham is due back at Portman Road tomorrow (FRI) with a view to being involved in Saturday’s home Championship game against Reading.
With the Easter holidays, it will be next week before Wickham signs his new Town contract – and give Keane some good news after a week when his position has been the subject of intense media speculation.
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Ipswich still have some work to do to be certain of confirming their current status, but if a form table was printed from the end of October until now Ipswich would be high up the table.
They would be challenging for a ‘play-off’ place with 43 points from 29 matches – just six defeats.
Keane will be seeking to cement this improvement for the remaining six games – and then look to build a squad that will make an impact from day one next term.
Wickham is set to play for England against Slovakia at Northampton tonight with his side needing a draw to qualify through to the European Championships.
Town have fought off the attention of scouts from Premier League clubs who have been watching 6’3” Wickham all season.
Mervyn Day has been a regular in his capacity as Fulham scout, while his former manager while assistant manager at Charlton – Alan Curbishley – is believed to have been looking at Wickham in recent weeks for a Premier League club.
Former Town coach and advisor to former manager Jim Magilton, Charlie Woods has also been keeping an eye on the Wickham situation for Tottenham with Arsenal and Chelsea also often represented.
Ex-Town striker and caretaker manager Paul Goddard works for the Stellar Group who are Wickham’s agent and he has already stated that he anticipates that the promising young player with one league and two Carling Cup goals will stay with Town.