Lisbie could sign today

KEVIN Lisbie is on the verge of signing for Ipswich Town, perhaps as soon as today, after taking a medical this week.

Carl Marston

KEVIN Lisbie is on the verge of signing for Ipswich Town, perhaps as soon as today, after taking a medical this week.

Colchester United hot-shot Lisbie, who plundered 17 goals for the relegated U's last season, admitted to the EADT last night that a deal is “very close to being done”.

He could even team up with the Ipswich squad in Belfast in time for tomorrow's pre-season friendly against Donegal Celtic, or the final fixture of the tour against Glentoran on Saturday.

Lisbie revealed: “It's not all sorted yet, but I've had a medical and I believe that I've played my last game for Colchester.

“It's just up to my representative to finalise the terms. It's not confirmed yet, but when everyone is happy and all the negotiations are done, then I should be signing for Ipswich.

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“This has been the most difficult decision of my career, because I have made more friends at Colchester in one year than I managed in all my time at Charlton.

“I had a fantastic year at Colchester. They took a chance on me, and I'd like to think that I paid them back.

“But I've proved that I can score lots of goals in the Championship, and that's where I want to stay.

“I was playing in the Premiership only a year or so ago, so I don't want to drop down two divisions, especially at this time of my career.

“The club understands my position. I still had a couple of years left on my contract, so hopefully they will get a good deal, but not the £1m that was mentioned as the price tag put on my head. I'm too old to be commanding that sort of fee.

“If I do sign soon, then Ipswich might ask me to go out to Northern Ireland to join them,” added Lisbie, who will turn 30 in October.

Ex-Jamaican international Lisbie spent 12 years at Charlton, where he was mostly employed as a substitute, until joining the U's on a free transfer last summer.

He was the fourth-highest scorer in the Championship, even though the U's finished rock bottom of the Championship.

The Essex club have already signed a ready replacement by capturing club record signing Steven Gillespie from Cheltenham Town last week.

If the Lisbie deal is wrapped up, then he is set to make history by becoming the first Colchester player to sign directly for Ipswich and go on to play for Town's first team.

The only other player to make this move was Len Jones back in the 1950s, and he never actually played for Town.

Meanwhile, Ipswich could complete a double striker swoop if they are successful in signing Nicky Maynard from Crewe Alexandra.

Negotiations are still ongoing and Town are believed to be close to agreeing a fee with Crewe for the highly-rated 21-year-old, who has scored 35 goals in just 65 senior appearances for the Railwaymen.

By contrast, a deal to sign experienced Greek international Angelos Charisteas looks more unlikely.

Town remain in the hunt for a goalkeeper. Manager Jim Magilton is prepared to give West Ham until the end of the week as a deadline for the potential transfer of Richard Wright, while there is also a possibility of Kelvin Davis returning to his old club from Southampton.