U’s boss believes Ben Williams would be perfect for Ipswich Town

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward believes the answer to Ipswich Town’s goalkeeping conundrum is right under their noses.

The League One boss was dealt a double blow yesterday when reliable custodian Ben Williams and highly-rated centre-back Magnus Okuonghae both confirmed that they were turning down new deals at the Essex club to pursue their Championship ambitions.

And with Jewell still desperate to sign a keeper this summer – having been beaten to top target Tomasz Kuszczak by divisional rivals Brighton – Ward has championed 29-year-old Williams as the man to fill the void just a few miles up the A12.

“We’re disappointed to lose Ben but I fully understand that he wants to take a gamble on playing higher at this stage in his career,” said Ward. “If I was a Championship manager that was looking for a goalkeeper then I would go out and get him straight away.”

And former Manchester United trainee Williams, whose young family have put down roots in Essex over the last three years, admits that geography could play a part in his decision.

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The imposing 6ft keeper said: “I came to Colchester to get promoted to the Championship, but with the way football is at the moment I just felt that my best chance of fulfilling that ambition would be to become a free agent. It’s a risk, but a calculated risk.”

The former Crewe and Carlisle custodian added: “I believe some clubs have spoken to Colchester, but nothing has ever reached me directly. I’m open-minded, but if there are choices I will do what’s best for my fianc�e and young son.”

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Meanwhile, centre-back Luke Chambers’ move to Ipswich Town is far from complete – despite the player undergoing a medical at the club yesterday. It’s understood that the 26-year-old – released by Nottingham Forest after skippering the side last season – has asked for some time to consider his options, with Leeds United reportedly making a late offer.

If that deal were to collapse, Town may also consider a move for the aforementioned Okuonghae, with a host of Championship clubs – including Burnley, Blackburn, Bolton and Charlton – having all been linked with the 26-year-old former Dagenham & Redbridge man.

French-Guinean teenager Cheik Kourouma is expected to sign for Ipswich Town in the coming days. The 19-year-old box-to-box midfielder, most recently at Italian side Genoa, impressed on trial at the end of last season.

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