Wickham on comeback trail

CONNOR Wickham has been back in training all this week, following his two-month absence with an ankle injury.

Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane won’t be rushing the return of his teenage star, but the England Under-17 striker could play for the Reserves next week.

And Keane also revealed that the club’s owner and chairman, Marcus Evans, resisted several tempting offers from other clubs to snap up Wickham during the last transfer window.

“Connor (Wickham) will be available in the next few weeks, and he will give us different options,” explained Keane.

“He trained on Monday for the first time, and I have to say it’s like he has never been away.

“Connor’s injury is fine and obviously what he needs now is a few minutes under his belt. The Reserve game was too quick for him on Wednesday (2-0 defeat to Oxford), but he’s trained well this week and he’s looked as sharp as the other strikers.

“He will be looking to make up for a bit of lost time.

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“It’s given everyone a boost, and I think it’s given him a boost. It’s frustrating for any player to be injured, especially when he (Wickham) just went over on his ankle when shooting, only to be out for weeks.

“We all felt better seeing him back on the training ground. We’ve missed him definitely,” added Keane.

Wickham really made a name for himself at the back end of last season, when he plundered four goals during the last six weeks.

He went on to play a major part in England Under-17s winning the European Championships during the early part of the summer, which prompted no end of speculation that he was about to sign for any number of different Premier League clubs.

Tottenham led the way, with a reported �8m bid for Wickham, but Town stood firm in the face of some big offers.

“The owner was able to resist offers for Connor,” continued Keane.

“The offers and the phone calls weren’t what we believed the player was worth. He’s happy here.

“Some other clubs may have taken the cash for Connor, so it was a plus for him still to be here.

“The club resisted, and rightly so, because the offers were very, very big offers, and I still think he has a chance of being a top player.

“That was an important message to the supporters. But don’t say that might not change in January.”

Town travel to Portsmouth tomorrow, and then have back-to-back home games against front-runners QPR and Cardiff City next week.

But Town Reserves’ game away to Colchester United next Wednesday also takes on a special significance, with the likes of Wickham, Mark Kennedy, Damien Delaney and Luciano Civelli all set to feature on their return from various injuries.

Keane confirmed: “The Reserves game next Wednesday is a good option for us. But there’s no chance of seeing Connor before this.”

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