Town chase £1.5m rated striker

IPSWICH Town are looking to bring in one of the famed recruits from the Crewe Alexandra academy to bolster their goalscoring output.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town are looking to bring in one of the famed recruits from the Crewe Alexandra academy to bolster their goalscoring output.

The Blues are monitoring the progress of 21-year-old Nicky Maynard and are poised to make a bid for the Winsford-born player.

Reports in Cheshire suggest that Town have already made a £1.5million bid for Maynard, but this is not the case.

But it is understood that Maynard is a definite target and someone who is being watched closely by Town's scouting staff.

Manager Jim Magilton is keeping tabs on a number of promising players from the lower leagues and without any doubt Maynard falls into this category.

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His goalscoring record is very impressive and Ipswich will face competition from the likes of Middlesbrough and Blackburn if they take their interest any further.

Maynard, like Town full back David Wright, came through the admired youth system at Gresty Road and was in the side which reached the 2004 FA Youth Cup semi-finals.

In 2006 he spent time on loan with Witton Albion and his good form in the Unibond League and Crewe's reserve side saw him make his full debut as a substitute on the final day of the 2005/06 season.

Maynard became a regular the following season, scoring 19 goals in 32 starts and six substitute appearances. Last year, he continued to be a threat in front of goal, but the early part of his season was disrupted by a broken fibula and ankle ligament damage sustained in August against Brighton.

In April, the 5ft 11in tall striker netted his first senior hat-trick in a 3-1 home win over Cheltenham, ending the season having scored 15 goals in 28 appearances.

Maynard is contracted to Crewe until the summer of 2010, having signed a four-year deal in 2006.

Shola Ameobi, reportedly a Town target last week with Magilton's advisor Charlie Woods an admirer of the striker from his time at Newcastle working with Sir Bobby Robson, is now linked with a move to West Brom. The 26-year-old is keen to remain in the Premier League.

Former Ipswich academy goalkeeper Andy Plummer has signed a one-year deal with Northern Ireland side Bangor after being recommended by his ex-boss Magilton.

Ipswich, who are not showing any interest in keeping keeper Stephen Bywater at Portman Road, have also dismissed Shefki Kuqi as a member of their 2008/09 squad.

The striker has fallen out with Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock although he has a year of his contract to run. Warnock said: “I'm not sure what is happening with Shefki right now. Ipswich don't want to keep him after his loan period so we will have to wait and see.”