Stead set to leave Ipswich

JON Stead still looks set to leave Ipswich Town, despite his impressive start to the new season.

Town boss Roy Keane has insisted that he will not stand in Stead’s way, even though his 27-year-old striker scored in the opening day win at Middlesbrough, and then led the front-line to good effect in last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Burnley.

Keane remains intent on signing three new players this week. Celtic’s 23-year-old centre-half Darren O’Dea should sign on loan in the next few days, while Wigan Athletic striker Jason Scotland and Cardiff front-runner Ross McCormack are also on the Irishman’s radar.

A potential swap deal, involving Stead going to Cardiff and McCormack moving in the other direction, appears very unlikely, although that might prove unnecessary if Craig Bellamy decides to sign on loan to the Bluebirds from Manchester City.

Sources from Cardiff suggest that Bellamy might not end up at his home town club, with the likes of Celtic, Fulham and Tottenham also interested, but that McCormack is poised to leave this month, with Town leading the chase.

Stead has other options, including Bristol City, who are believed to have rekindled their interest in the Town frontman under new manager Keith Millen.

Stead turned down a chance to join the Robins earlier in the month, after a fee of �225,000 had been agreed betweeen the two clubs.

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Keane said: “There’s been no move on Ross McCormack, because there is one or two other clubs in for Steady. That was always going to be the most complicated one, when you’re doing a swap deal.

“Steady has every entitlement to speak to other clubs. He’s got to pick the right club and that might just upset the deal anyway.”

Stead and former Town striker Jon Walters are both likely to leave this month.

Meanwhile, Town centre-half Tommy Smith has been included in the New Zealand squad to play two friendlies in October.

Smith featured in all three of the All-Whites’ group matches at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.

Now the 20-year-old will travel to New Zealand for two friendlies against Honduras (October 9) and Paraguay (October 12), before arriving back in England on the eve of Town’s home match against Coventry.

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