Leeds fancy a Currie take-away

IPSWICH Town have been offered a swap deal with Leeds United for their young defender Danny Harding, which would see Darren Currie move to Elland Road. It looks increasingly likely that...

By Derek Davis

IPSWICH Town have been offered a swap deal with Leeds United for their young defender Danny Harding, which would see Darren Currie move to Elland Road.

It looks increasingly likely that Currie, pictured, is set to leave the club after failing to agree terms on a new contract offer. Currie, who was signed for a bargain £250,000 from Brighton in December 2004, still has a year left on his current deal and Ipswich may want to cash in on the player who put in more crosses than any other championship player last season and was one of the division's leading players in terms of assists.

Leeds are willing to do a swap deal to secure the winger with the unsettled David Healy being used as a sweetener but the Blues are more keen to secure a defender.

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The Blues are also considering a move to sign Rangers defender Bob Malcolm.

Town boss Jim Magilton last night confirmed Leeds wanted Currie and that Harding was an option.

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He said: “Leeds have expressed an interest in Darren Currie and we have said we would be interested in a left-back. Danny Harding's name has come to the fore but that is as far as it has gone so far.

“Nothing has been made firm by Leeds and we have not decided anything.”

Harding also has a year left on his contract at Elland Road but Kevin Blackwell will not stand in the defender's way after he was rarely used last season.

The six-footer, who can play left-back or at centre-half, is a former team mate of Currie, having moved to Leeds from the Withdean Stadium in a deal worth £850,000 and, at just 20, would represent good business for the Blues in the long term, although Currie would be a huge loss.

Harding made his England Under-21 debut when he replaced Matt Richards against Georgia at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium.

Meanwhile, Ipswich could secure Malcolm either on a free transfer or for a nominal fee and include him on the trip to Belgium next week but face a fight with Coventry City and at least one other Championship club for the 25-year-old.

Magilton said: “We are after a specific type of player and Malcolm has been recommended to us. We have looked at some tapes of him but nothing has been decided as yet. He is on a list of players we are looking at.”

Malcolm still has a year left on his current contract but was not included in Rangers' pre-season trip to South Africa and is not believed to be part of new manager Paul le Guen's plans.

Malcolm has made 100 Scottish Premier League appearances for the Ibrox club since making his debut nearly six years ago and scored three goals.

The central defender has also played in midfield and declined the chance to move away from Rangers but is now keen to make the switch.

Another player not staying with Ipswich, after being told he would not be kept on, is trialist Colin Healy, although Motherwell have offered the Republic of Ireland international the chance to join them.

Eugen Bopp, who was released by Nottingham Forest, is another not being pursued following a week's trial but Frenchman Alexis Bertin gets another chance to impress after being invited to stay another week and play in Town's pre-season friendly at Galway United tomorrow.

Magilton is keen to see Bertin in another match situation after the 25-year-old caught the eye with his tough tackling at Boston United. Bertin will play in the friendly against the Eirecom Division One side.

The Blues go to Galway tomorrow without striker Alan Lee and midfielders Owen Garvan and Gavin Williams.

The Irish teenager has been sent home with the highly-infectious shingles after missing out on the friendly at Boston with a knee problem, while Williams suffered some soreness following his impressive first half display at Boston.

Lee misses the trip to his home town as he continues to recover from a stomach operation but Magilton is hoping he will be fit to travel to Belgium next week and ready to play in the home friendly against Lazio at the end of the month.

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