Marcus Evans set to offer Tommy Smith a new deal

IPSWICH Town owner Marcus Evans is set to meet defender Tommy Smith’s agent for contract talks in the coming days.

The 21-year-old has started the last 16 games, with the Blues claiming 28 points from a possible 48 during that run.

However, while Josh Carson, Luke Hyam, Carlos Edwards and Ronan Murray have all been handed new deals this year, and discussions have started with Grant Leadbitter and Jason Scotland, Smith has been left in the dark about his future as he rapidly nears the end of his current contract.

“There is still a bit of mileage on the contracts,” said Jewell, speaking ahead of his side’s Easter fixtures against Derby (away Saturday) and Leicester (home on Monday).

“I know the owner has spoken to Grant Leadbitter’s agent, he is going to be speaking to Tommy Smith’s agent and he has had a chat with Jason Scotland – so things are moving on.

“Tommy will be offered a new deal and discussions have begun between Marcus and his agent.”

Striker Scotland has recently signed a waiver on a clause in his contract which would have entitled him to another year on the same money if he made two more league starts this season. The club are now negotiating a fresh contract on reduced terms.

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“I know Marcus spoke to him a couple of weeks ago about next season,” said Jewell. “Jason has shown really good intentions by signing that waiver. It puts him in good light.

“He has been terrific for us both on and off the pitch. He is a positive person and a good player. He has that ability to come off the bench and change games – he has been a really good impact player.”

Meanwhile, Leadbitter has been linked with Bosman moves to Championship rivals Middlesbrough and Brighton this week following his return to form.

“Grant Leadbitter has been excellent over the last few games since he got back into the team,” said Jewell.

“There is going to be interest in him, I understand that.

“Hopefully he will weigh things up and he will see we are going in the right direction. That is something only Grant and his family can decide though.

“This next move for him is an important one and hopefully he will stay here.”

Asked about defender Ibrahima Sonko – another nearing the end of his deal and currently out of the team – Jewell said: “I haven’t spoken with Sonks. I will sit down with all the players who are out of contract in the next few weeks – maybe even before that. We have to make decisions and it is a tough time.”

Another Town player with an uncertain future is Daryl Murphy. The versatile Irishman sees his loan from Scottish side Celtic expire at the end of the season.

“We are in Celtic’s hands there,” said Jewell. “He is a Celtic player and he is on good money there.

“We would like to sign Daryl but we couldn’t afford him on the wages he is on now. Celtic would have to help us and it is their prerogative whether they do that.

“I think Daryl wants to stay and we would like to keep him here. But like I keep saying every week, wanting to do something and being able to do something financially are two different things.”