Town in battle to sign Parkin

Prolific Swindon Town striker Sam Parkin has been revealed as a target for Ipswich Town, writes David Vincent.But they face a battle for the signature of the £500,000-rated player, with Norwich City also among his suitors.

Prolific Swindon Town striker Sam Parkin has been revealed as a target for Ipswich Town, writes David Vincent.

But they face a battle for the signature of the £500,000-rated player, with Norwich City also among his suitors.

The Robins received four bids for him on Friday. Parkin has hit more than 70 goals in three seasons at the County Ground, after being snapped up for a fee of just £50,000 by Robins manager Andy King from Chelsea reserves.

He hit 23 goals last season, despite his team drifting in mid-table in Coca-Cola League One.

His progress at Stamford Bridge was held up by their international squad and he gained first-team experience out on loan at Millwall, Northampton and Wycombe.

Swindon are determined to make a big profit on Parkin's sale and are happy to see an auction develop between the two East Anglian rivals, plus Watford, who appear to be leading the race, as well as Crewe Alexandra.

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Watford are aiming to cash in themselves on the sale of Icelandic striker Heidar Helguson to a Premiership club, and are also expecting a windfall from celebrity fan Sir Elton John's stadium concerts, though that money is needed to secure the future of their ground.

Ambitious Parkin, 24, is expecting to move on but he won't be rushed. He said: “One thing is for sure, I won't be making any hasty decisions about my future. Nor will I be pushed into anything.

“I've said before that football reasons will have a big part to play in what happens.

“It is not all about money. I want the best opportunity to progress my career.”

Ipswich, with several first-teamers already departed, offer him that chance.

Parkin's goals last season included the winner against Colchester United at Layer Road in September, the U's first home defeat of the season.

The target man actually scored twice against Colchester during 2004 and always proved a handful for the U's defence.

Brighton have already dropped out of the chase for Parkin after their chairman, Dick Knight, said it was becoming too rich for them.

He said: “We have made an inquiry about him and I had discussions with Willie Carson (the Swindon chairman). We have not made a formal bid but we have tested the water.

“They did not turn down my speculative offer but we cannot compete with Norwich and Ipswich until we get a new stadium, even though the player himself had an interest in us.”

Relegated Norwich seem well covered in the striking department but Dean Ashton, a superb signing from Crewe Alexandra, could be targeted by Premiership clubs this summer.

And City boss Nigel Worthington is ready to listen to offers for another striker, Leon McKenzie, who seems certain to leave Carrow Road.

Ipswich's need is more urgent but they are in danger of being priced out if a bidding war develops - though Blues boss Joe Royle can offer Parkin the chance of being in his first choice XI, as he builds his squad for another promotion challenge.

Ipswich have officially withdrawn their new contract offer to Shefki Kuqi. After the Finnish international indicated he was leaving Portman Road, Royle has slammed the door on any U-turn.

He said: “I am not annoyed by Shefki's decision but I am disappointed by it.

“We made Shefki an offer and he rejected it, so we responded by withdrawing our offer and pursuing other players to fill the gap.

“I did honestly think there was a good chance of us being able to keep Shefki at the club after the season he had with us.

“He was our top scorer with 20 goals and the fans made him their Player of the Year. It was the best season of his career.”

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