Waghorn sale close, with Hurst revealing incoming deals ‘edging in our favour’

Paul Hurst has a win rate of 50% from more than 500 games in football management. Photo: Pagepix

Paul Hurst has a win rate of 50% from more than 500 games in football management. Photo: Pagepix

Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst has revealed that striker Martyn Waghorn is close to leaving the club.

Town manager Paul Hurst ahead of the game. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Town manager Paul Hurst ahead of the game. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Waghorn, who scored 16 goals and produced 11 assists in his debut campaign for the Blues, has been the subject of strong interest from Championship rivals Middlesbrough, Derby County and Sheffield United this summer.

The 28-year-old was left out Town’s squad, but in the stands, as Hurst’s men kick-started their campaign with a 2-2 home draw against Blackburn Rovers this afternoon.

“That looks like it’s edging more to a conclusion,” said the Blues boss. “Let’s not kid ourselves, we all know what that conclusion will be. As a result, I didn’t think it was fair on the player, or fair on my group of players, or us as a football club, for us to involve him.

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“We’ll see what the next hours and days bring. Thankfully Thursday (deadline for permanent deals) is getting a bit closer.”

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Asked if he could say which club Waghorn was going to, Hurst replied: “I don’t think that’s my place to say in all honesty. You’ll find out soon enough.”

And when quizzed if the Blues had got the fee they were holding out for – believed to be £8m after rejecting bids of around £5m for a player they signed for £250k a year ago – he puffed out his cheeks before considering his response.

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“Erm... look I think we have to make a decision that we think is right,” he said.

“Whether or not it is quite the valuation we really feel... Ultimately, as I’ve said from the start, we’ve got to make decisions that are best for this football club. Not everyone is going to agree with them – I understand that – but people are not in my shoes or the owner’s shoes and understand all the intricacies around people’s situations.

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“Without rushing it, the sooner it is concluded the better. While I understand the questions, and respect them, I want to be talking about the players out on the pitch and that are part of this squad. That’s why I will be pleased when the window is closed so we can concentrate on that rather than speculating about who is coming in or going.”

Waghorn’s sale will help finance several incoming deals. The Blues are thought to be closing in on Shrewsbury Town duo Toto Nsiala and Jon Nolan, while the club are locked in negotiations for Curtis Tilt (Blackpool) and Kayden Jackson (Accrington Stanley) and have a loan bid in for Cardiff striker Omar Bogle.

Striker Jackson, who newly-promoted League One side Stanley want £2.5m for, started today.

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“I could do with five minutes breather first!” quipped Hurst, when asked if he’d be straight on his phone to conduct transfer business. “I’m sure that there will be some messages and calls coming in.

“I think some are kind of edging more in our favour, but whether it’s the players, the clubs they are at or us – things can change. We could have a deal set up and then...

“Today there have been (targets) playing, which I don’t like, because there could have been an injuries. They might have got injured today. Hopefully not. Those are the things I’ll be trying to get updates on.”

Including Waghorn, nine players were unavailable for the Blues today through injury and suspension.

“I see other clubs have named five subs today, so we are in a better position than some respects,” said Hurst.

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“Not being disrespectful to our own players, but if look at Blackburn’s bench and looked at ours they certainly had a stronger bench in truth – more seasoned players when ours was quite young. Ours certainly didn’t have much Championship experience.

“We will look to add to the squad and make it stronger. That’s what it’s about. Hopefully the next few days will see us do that.”

Jonas Knudsen has been linked to Stoke City in recent weeks and made a point of applauding all four sides of the ground after today’s game.

“I don’t know if that’s unusual or any different to what he’d normally do,” said Hurst. “What I would say is that, to my knowledge, that’s not going to be happening.

“Every time I’ve watched Jonas and, having spoken to people about him, he’s a fully committed player. I certainly didn’t;t see anything in his performance today to suggest he’s got anything else on his mind. If he has then full credit to him for his performance today.

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“I went and clapped the fans and I’m not planning on leaving!”

Meanwhile, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson has confirmed the club’s interest in Town striker Joe Garner – absent today with a minor knee problem.

“We’ll look at that situation,” said Hurst. “As always, if we feel it’s the right thing to then we’ll look at it. If we don’t then Joe will stay with us.”

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