Town set sights on international keeper

IPSWICH TOWN: Blues manager Roy Keane is planning a summer swoop for 27-year-old Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop.

And Tottenham are taking an increasingly serious look at teenage sensation Connor Wickham with scout Clive Allen taking in Sunday’s 3-0 home defeat by Sheffield United.

Hungarian international Fulop is currently on a short loan at Manchester City and is expected to leave the Stadium of Light in the close season.

His contract has one more year to run and there would be a fee involved.

Fulop has been told by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce that he regards Craig Gordon as his number one.

A Sunderland source said: “Marton has been told by his Hungarian coach that he needs to be playing regular first-team football if he is going to become the international number one.

“This is what drives Marton on and he has been on the verge of leaving a few times.

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“It is expected that Marton will depart Sunderland in the summer.”

It was Keane who signed Fulop from Tottenham in January 2007 in a swap deal that saw former England Under-21 keeper Ben Alnwick move to White Hart Lane.

Keane has already signed Grant Leadbitter and Carlos Edwards from his former club and taken Jack Colback, Daryl Murphy and David Healy on loan.

At 6ft 5in, Fulop is one of the tallest keepers in English football and when Keane was in charge at the Stadium of Light he was happy to regard him on equal terms with Scottish international Gordon.

Keane has always stressed that he wants three keepers in his senior squad and with Richard Wright’s contract not being renewed there is a vacancy.

Brian Murphy is the current number one after joining from Irish club Bohemians in January with Arran Lee-Barrett having done well when asked to cover in the middle of the season.

Academy keeper Ian McLoughlin has been given another year’s contract after sitting on the bench when Lee-Barrett was the only other fit keeper on the books.

Stoke City were also represented at Sunday’s match in the shape of assistant manager Peter Reid, but it is Spurs who are poised to make a bid for Wickham.

Bruce is also keen to take Wickham to the north east although Keane has stressed several times since the striker signed a two-and-a-half year contract on his 17th birthday on March 31 that the boy is not for sale at any price.

Rogers and Keane built up a friendship while taking a coaching course, and the former is expected to be appointed soon although Keane said at the weekend that he was so determined to get the right man and that it might be after pre-season training starts on June 28 that he appoints an assistant manager.

Meanwhile, former Town Bryan Klug is believed to have links with Tottenham, while Tom Eastman became the first Ipswich player to be sent off on his Blues debut in Sunday’s game against the Blades.

Gareth McAuley was voted Supporters’ Club Player of the Year finishing well ahead of his central defensive partner Damien Delaney.

Colback was third, and the Sunderland loanee won the Players’ Player of the Year award last week.

McAuley also retained the Ashley Cushion Away Match Passport Holders Player of the Year while the Dale Roberts Trophy for the Academy Player of the Year was won by Eastman.

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