Marley Watkins’ former manager believes Ipswich Town could be priced out of move for winger

Marley Watkins (right)

Marley Watkins (right) - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher fears the Blues may have been priced out of a move for highly-rated Barnsley forward, Marley Watkins.

Watkins, who was signed by Butcher for Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2013, announced he was leaving Oakwell yesterday, having turned down a new deal with the Reds.

A versatile operator, Watkins is admired by Blues boss Mick McCarthy and Town, who are prepared to offload some first-team players this summer, are thought to have had two, £1m-plus bids for the Londoner turned down in the last two transfer windows.

McCarthy said in March that he may look to go back in for the 26-year-old, who scored 10 goals in his debut Championship campaign this season – including in both games against Ipswich – but Butcher believes, with a number of clubs interested, the Blues boss may miss out.

“I think he will now go to a club that will be able to offer him a lot more than what Ipswich can pay him,” said Butcher.

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“I would love to see him here and had Town got him (Watkins) here in January, he would certainly have helped get us higher up the league table.

“Unfortunately, I think he will be moving on to bigger and better things now as there are a number of quality clubs looking at him. Celtic have been linked with him in Scotland and then there is interest from some high-end Championship clubs and even the Premier League.”

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Butcher worked with Watkins in Scotland for a short period of time, having signed him from Hereford United, and is delighted at the progress the forward has made.

“He was an unknown when I signed him and he has progressed well and went on to win the Scottish Cup with Inverness,” Butcher added.

“He is a player that Town need. He can operate on either wing or play down the middle.

“He is quick, has a lovely touch, is immensely strong and is good in the air.

“He is a nice lad too, I never had a problem with him – he was a pleasure to work with.”

Watkins gave Barnsley the lead in the 1-1 draw with Ipswich at Oakwell in March, having come off the bench to score on the opening day at Portman Road, a game Town won 4-2.

“He has got unbelievable potential and is hungry to succeed,” Butcher enthused.

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