Paul Jewell faces transfer dilemma over Billy Sharp

PAUL Jewell has a big decision to make going into the January sales.

Does he spend a massive chunk of his transfer budget looking to entice Doncaster Rovers’ star striker Billy Sharp to Portman Road or does he opt to improve other areas of his squad?

Town fans now know that �3 million could be enough to sign nine-goal Sharp after Rovers chairman John Ryan admitted the multi-million pound bid would activate a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ in the 25-year-old’s contract.

But a swoop for Sharp could severely restrict Jewell’s other transfer dealings – which will include a centre-back and centre-midfield following the conclusion of Danny Collins and Keith Andrews’ loan deals.

Andrews’ future might become a little clearer over the coming days after his agent met with Town owner Marcus Evans yesterday while Collins might look for a club closer to his Midlands base.

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Either way, Jewell will look to strengthen the spine of his team and might also look for a new right-back and another keeper.

Sharp has been on Jewell’s radar since the summer and the manager has revealed he would again target the hitman in January – a move backed by 65% of Blues fans during a poll conducted by this newspaper yesterday.

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The striker himself admitted Town would be a great club to play for after scoring twice at Portman Road and being applauded by the home fans seven days after the death of his newborn baby.

Sharp scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester in just 15 league games this season. Table-toppers Southampton are also said to be monitoring the situation while certain Premier League clubs might take a chance on him.

And any club considering a bid now know where they stand after Doncaster chairman John Ryan admitted: “The situation is very simple. If somebody offers us �3 million they can talk to Billy Sharp and it’s as we have always said, it is down to Billy.

“We don’t want him to go but I have always had a gentleman’s agreement with Billy that if a big club comes in then, yes, he can go.”

* A poll conducted by found that 65% of Blues fans thought Jewell should spend �3 million on Sharp.

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