Kuqi is Joe's top target

SHEFKI Kuqi has been made Joe Royle's priority permanent signing, writes Derek Davis.While the Blues boss also wants to keep Alan Mahon and Chris Bart-Williams on a full-time basis he is concentrating all his efforts on securing Kuqi from Sheffield Wednesday.

SHEFKI Kuqi has been made Joe Royle's priority permanent signing, writes Derek Davis.

While the Blues boss also wants to keep Alan Mahon and Chris Bart-Williams on a full-time basis he is concentrating all his efforts on securing Kuqi from Sheffield Wednesday.

Talks are at an advanced stage and even though his loan deal does not expire until Boxing Day, Kuqi may be a permanent signing this week if negotiations go well.

Royle last night said: “We are working on a deal, it may be today, it may be tomorrow, I don't know when but we are hoping to do it although there are things to be overcome.


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“We are talking to Sheffield Wednesday to find common ground.”

In a separate development Wednesday are keen to take England Under-19 midfielder Matt Bloomfield on a week's trial when he recovers from injury, which is expected to be within 10 days.

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Bloomfield and defender Chris Hogg were handed free transfers by Ipswich yesterday with the Owls and Boston United already expressing interest.

The Pilgrims were mightily impressed by Hogg, who joined Town from York City for £150,000, and has captained his country at a number of age groups up to under-17 level.

Royle said: “Both are going to have limited opportunities here so realistically this gives them a chance before the end-of-season rush starts.

“They are both good lads and good players but they have been overtaken here. They are not being kicked out by any means, all we are saying is if someone wants to take over their contracts they are free to do so.

“Boston were impressed with what they saw with Chris and also like the look of Matt, while Wednesday have been on and want to take a closer look at Matt when he is fit.”

Bart-Williams' loan deal expires in three weeks and his path from Charlton may be a lot smoother.

Blackburn Rovers have been terrific in their co-operation with the Blues during Mahon's loan period, suspending the move while he recovered from a hamstring pull.

Whether both players join Town permanently depends on finances, which are still tight at Portman Road.

Royle added: “I would still like to take all three but there are so many balls in the air at the moment financially.”

If Andy Marshall's loan move to Wolves leads to something longer term it will help. Marshall has been given permission to play for Wolves in the Carling Cup against Arsenal next week.

If Alun Armstrong is fixed up elsewhere soon, preferably on a full contract it will help.

And the more shares bought in the first issue since 1936, the more it will help.

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