Town hot shot could follow Rooney

IPSWICH TOWN: Blues manager Roy Keane insists he will have no problem keeping hot property Connor Wickham at Portman Road during the January transfer window.

Liverpool have emerged as strong candidates to make a bid for the 17-year-old, and they are expected to have a high ranking club official watching him at the City ground against Nottingham Forest tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Wickham’s advisors will be looking to test the water over Ipswich’s resolve to keep the striker with his contract running out in 20 months time – the same time as Wayne Rooney’s at Manchester United!

Unless he signs an extended contract by this time next year Wickham’s value in the market will be dropping and come June 2012 the Blues will only be entitled to a compensation payment – much less than the �10million that might be bid by one of the top Premier League clubs early next year – or next summer.

Ipswich could not have asked for a stiffer test in which to arrest their current poor run.

Defeat against Forest will make it three consecutive losses and ruin what was a highly promising start to the campaign.

Skipper David Norris has already hailed it as a game Town must win.

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But they will be up against opposition that has not been beaten at home for 25 league games.

Forest reached the play-offs last season, and have made the City ground a fortress with two wins and four draws beside the Trent this term.

Keane returned to his unpredictable selection ways on Tuesday when he made six changes for the 2-1 defeat at Watford.

He did away with wide players, played two up front from the start and switched regular central defender Tommy Smith to left back.

Damien Delaney did well enough in his first league start of 2010/11 to play again, but Jack Colback or Shane O’Connor are tipped to fill the left back berth in the injury absence of Darren O’Dea and Mark Kennedy.

Marton Fulop is a 50-50 doubt after hurting his back in training on Monday with Brian Murphy set to continue in goal with who plays at right back anybody’s guess with Jaime Peters, Tom Eastman and Troy Brown in contention.

Carlos Edwards is good bet to come back into the team to offer width and good crosses with the tried and trusted Norris and Grant Leadbitter partnership surely the best bet for the middle of the park.

Jason Scotland looked hungry and strong at Watford, and with Wickham showing his best of the season as a substitute at Vicarage Road, the youngster could well start beside Scotland up front – the pair surely being Town’s best bets for goals.

And another teenage striker Ronan Murray did enough after coming off the bench on Tuesday to at least be in the final party of 18 again.

certain Town players will be cup tied for Tuesday’s carling Cup game against Northampton, and Keane will no doubt take this into account with his selection tomorrow.

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