Wickham advised by Scowcroft to make at least 75 starts before leaving Town

‘STAY where you are’ is the heartfelt message to rising star Connor Wickham from former Ipswich Town striker James Scowcroft.

The Blues could sell Wickham to the highest bidder in the summer and bring in two or three experienced players to bolster their promotion push for next season.

But Suffolk boy made good Scowcroft says it would be best for both parties for Wickham to stay where he is.

“Connor needs at least 75 starts under his belt to learn his trade before he should think about moving on,” insisted Scowcroft, who is currently playing for Bury Town in the Ryman League while expanding a media career.

“However hard you work in training the only way to learn is to play Saturday after Saturday.

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“It would be too soon for him to go in the summer.

“I played at Crystal Palace when John Bostock was there and he moved to Tottenham when 16 in July 2008. He still hasn’t played in the Spurs first team having played a few games on loan at Brentford and Hull.

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“He would have been much better off staying and playing games at Palace.

“And when Kieron Dyer moved on from Ipswich as a 20-year-old in July 1999 he had made over 100 Ipswich starts and was our best player every week.”

Wickham has made 24 Town starts and netted 11 goals with 35 substitute appearances, and Scowcroft, who came through the Ipswich academy to make the England Under-21 side and score 48 times in 219 Town appearances, went on:

“My advice would be to Connor to stay where he is. He should not worry about money at his age.

“He should just worry about his football as the money will follow.

“Connor has great potential and he is not just an out-and-out centre forward. He has a little bit of everything.

“And if he takes the right steps at the right time and keeps fit he will be a very wealthy person by the time he finishes playing.”

Wickham is set to face Championship leaders QPR at Loftus Road tonight (kick-off 8pm) having suffered no reaction to going over on his ankle during Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Hull City.

And there are bound to be a host of Premier League scouts watching closely with a number of top clubs currently debating whether to make a summer big money move for the 17-year-old.

Liverpool remain in pole position to tempt Wickham away from Portman Road if their offer meets Town’s valuations with their director of football strategy Damien Comolli at Saturday’s game.

Tottenham were also represented with academy manager John McDermott also looking on while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is well aware of Wickham and at the weekend praised the quality of players – including Wickham - coming through the Championship.

There is a good chance that Wickham will sign a lucrative Town contract extension beyond his current deal that goes to June 2013 on his 18th birthday at the end of next month when time contract limitations because of age become obsolete.

This could well satisfy his immediate needs but will not tie him down to stay with the club to 2015 say.

It will ensure however, that when he does move on Ipswich will get a fair price for their hot property.

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