Town close in on Wright

IPSWICH Town are closing in on former England goalkeeper Richard Wright.The 29-year-old's contract with Premiership Everton finishes on Saturday, June 30, and Wright has confirmed his intention to move away from the area by selling his house in Cheshire.

By Elvin King

IPSWICH Town are closing in on former England goalkeeper Richard Wright.

The 29-year-old's contract with Premiership Everton finishes on Saturday, June 30, and Wright has confirmed his intention to move away from the area by selling his house in Cheshire.

Since coming back from a family holiday in the USA, Wright has returned to the house he still owns just outside Ipswich.


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He was away again last weekend attending his agent's wedding, but is believed to be ready to return to his first club Ipswich - with the deal set to be finalised within the next couple of weeks.

Town chairman David Sheepshanks has confirmed that contract talks with Wright have taken place. The keeper is available on a free transfer.

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Glasgow Rangers have shown interest in Wright, but Town manager Jim Magilton has a high regard for a keeper he played with when the Blues were promoted in 2000 and then finished fifth in the Premiership in 2001.

Wright said: “The one thing I want to be doing is playing regular football.

“I had five good years at Everton, but with picking up an injury and one thing or another things might not have worked out quite how I wanted.”

Everton boss David Moyes has handed Ian Turner a new contract and he becomes No. 2 at Goodison Park to Tim Howard. Former Cambridge United goalkeeper John Ruddy, who is also on the Toffees books, is an England Under-19 international and considered ready for a step-up to the senior Everton squad.

Moyes said: “For all intents and purposes Richard has left the club. But I am leaving the door slightly ajar in that we may need to bring in another keeper.”

Wright has been a regular in the Everton senior squad, acting as deputy to Nigel Martyn for much of 2005-06 and Howard last season.

He made 71 appearances for the Goodison Park club, having been signed from Arsenal in July 2002, a year after the Londoners paid Town a reported £6million for his signature.

Ipswich Town's bid to capture striker Francis Jeffers from Blackburn has made no further progress.

Magilton has put the former England striker at the top of his shopping list after Jeffers had a successful loan spell with Town last season. However the Blues manager is expecting to have to play a waiting game to see whether a deal can be agreed.

Magilton also says that talk of fellow striker Alan Lee leaving Portman Road is pure speculation and that recent reports that Town are showing an interest in Birmingham City midfielder Neil Kilkenny are wide of the mark.

The 21-year-old Republic of Ireland international was first linked to the Blues last January.

Ipswich are still to confirm whether they are going on tour in pre-season, but they are seeking a second high-profile match to go with their home game with top Greek outfit Panathinaikos, which is scheduled for Sunday, August 5. This second match is likely to be away from home.

Fabian Wilnis and Gary Roberts trained normally at Ufford Park Hotel and Golf Club yesterday after recovering from minor knocks, while Jason De Vos, Richard Naylor, Sylvain Legwinski and Dean Bowditch continue to make good progress and went through their paces at Ufford.

Gavin Williams is still receiving regular treatment from a Copenhagen-based specialist for his pelvic problems.

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