Sheepshanks: Franny deal not dead yet

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks is hopeful a deal to purchase ex-England striker Francis Jeffers from Premiership Blackburn Rovers will be completed by the end of the month.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town chairman David Sheepshanks is hopeful a deal to purchase ex-England striker Francis Jeffers from Premiership Blackburn Rovers will be completed by the end of the month.

“All is not lost,” said Sheepshanks. “We are still very keen to sign Franny, and he is still very keen to join us.”

Ipswich raised their bid to £500,000 plus add-ons two weeks ago, but this was turned down by Rovers - who signed the 26-year-old on a free transfer and have him on contract until the end of June next year.


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Rovers want £1million for the player who shares the record of 13 goals for the England Under-21 side and was sold by Everton to Arsenal for £8million in 2001.

“Currently Blackburn have a higher valuation than we are able to meet,” explained Sheepshanks.

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“But I remain hopeful we can reach agreement over a fee in the next two weeks or so.”

Sheepshanks confirmed that much activity is going on behind the scenes with manager Jim Magilton looking at one or two other potential signings in other positions.

The imminent sale of Darren Bent by Charlton could see Town benefit by around £2million from a sell-on clause for their former front man.

A large majority of this will considerably bolster Magilton's player budget - giving Town the capacity to consider to increase their bid for Jeffers.

A number of Premier League clubs are reported to be keen on Bent including West Ham and Tottenham, with Charlton having to tighten their belts financially following their relegation.

Sheepshanks was presented with a long-service award by the Football League at last week's annual general meeting in Portugal.

This was in recognition of his 20 years service as an Ipswich Town director.

The current Blues chairman is a former chairman of the Football League, and has been a director of the Football League for the last ten years - apart from the two seasons Town spent in the Premier League.

While Sheepshanks and his off-field team continue to look at ways of helping Magilton assemble a promotion-winning side, the players returned to the club to start pre-season training today.

They will initially work three days a week having returned a fortnight earlier than previous years with a week's break and a week of specialist fitness work at Loughborough University next month.

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