Lee Martin criticises Ipswich Town over contract silence

LEE Martin insists it is Ipswich Town dragging their heels over his contract, not him.

Blues supporters had begun to speculate as to whether the midfielder – now in the final year of his deal – was postponing talks over his future due to the team’s nightmare start to the campaign.

It was a reasonable assumption considering manager Paul Jewell insisted this summer he would not allow a repeat of the scenario which saw David Norris, Gareth McAuley and Grant Leadbitter depart on Bosman free transfers, stating he would transfer list saleable assets who did not commit their future to the club inside the final 12 months of their deal.

However, Martin – the most high-profile of the clubs’ 10 players in that position – says he is still waiting for talks to begin.

“The last time we heard anything was when my agent got an e-mail saying ‘we’ll be in touch’,” said the 25-year-old. “That was in August and we haven’t heard anything since. The ball is firmly in their court.

“As far as I’m concerned all I can do is keep coming in, working hard and giving my best all the time I’m here. I’m certainly fully committed.”

Asked if he wanted to extend his stay at Portman Road beyond the summer, he added: “Of course I do, yeah.”

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When Jewell was quizzed about the future of the former Manchester United player on August 23, he said: “I was trying to get hold of the owner (Marcus Evans), pictured above, last night for two hours and he was on the phone to Lee Martin’s agent! I am trying to stay out of the money side of it now – I’ll let the owner and (chief executive) Simon (Clegg) do that.

“We want to sign our best players and I definitely want to keep Lee Martin. He is an important part of what we are doing and he will be for the next three or four years or more. All being well, that will get sorted.”

One of the higher earners at the club having signed a lucrative deal when signed by former boss Roy Keane for �1.5m back in the summer of 2009, Martin would almost certainly have to take a wage cut as the club looks to cut its cloth.

Asked if he would be prepared to do that, Martin said: “That’s what negotiations are for and we’ve never really got to that stage. If the owner and my agent were talking at least there would be progress, but as I say we haven’t heard anything since August.

“It’s just the not knowing. That’s never nice is it? You always want to get your future sorted, but sometimes that’s not in your hands. That’s life as a footballer though, you’ve just got to get on with it.”

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