Hull to test Town's resolve over Lee
HULL will test Ipswich's resistance with an improved bid for striker Alan Lee.Tigers' boss Phil Brown is determined to land the Republic of Ireland international after Town last night snubbed his first offer for the player.
By Mel Henderson
HULL will test Ipswich's resistance with an improved bid for striker Alan Lee.
Tigers' boss Phil Brown is determined to land the Republic of Ireland international after Town last night snubbed his first offer for the player.
Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks has insisted their rejection of Hull's bid is “the end of it” but the Humberside outfit have other ideas.
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And, intriguingly, Town are trying to secure a loan deal for Newcastle teenager Andy Carroll that will give them up to seven players challenging for first team places.
With former favourite Pablo Counago set to be unveiled tomorrow, manager Jim Magilton could have Lee, Jonathan Walters, Danny Haynes, Billy Clarke, Jordan Rhodes and possibly Carroll in contention for the striking roles.
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The lanky Carroll, 18, has only limited experience. He has made seven senior outings, all as a substitute, and became the youngest player to appear in Europe when he made his debut last November in a UEFA Cup-tie against Palermo.
Likened to Liverpool and England star Peter Crouch by ex-Magpies boss Glenn Roeder, he was crowned the north east's most promising young player when he carried off the Wor Jackie Milburn Trophy, named after the St James' Park legend who also managed Ipswich.
New boss Sam Allardyce has already confirmed that he would be happy for some of his rising stars to go out on loan to gain valuable experience.
Should they succeed in securing Carroll's services, albeit on a temporary basis, Ipswich will be top-heavy with strikers and that could encourage Hull.
Unlike Town, who remain saddled with a £36 million mountain of debt, their Championship rivals are blessed with one of the biggest transfer kitties at this level.
The cash is available to Brown after a recent takeover that will enable the ex-Derby manager to embark on a pre-season signing spree and make him the envy of most other bosses in the second tier.
And another reason for Brown persisting with his interest in Lee is that he has parted company with three strikers in recent weeks and is desperate to strengthen in that area.
Lee, who will be 29 soon after next month's big kick-off, has so far stayed tight-lipped on speculation that has also linked him with a move to Coventry.
But he is in the last year of his contract at Portman Road and that is normally a signal for clubs to instigate talks about a new deal.
In recent years, though, Town have been unable to open negotiations because of the uncertainty of their financial situation and this has led to players like Tommy Miller, Jermaine Wright and Shefki Kuqi moving on free transfers.
If they stick to their guns and refuse all bids for Lee they must accept that he will be free to depart at no cost once his current deal expires next June.
Lee would perhaps prefer to move on now since he would be certain to receive a longer-term deal on improved terms, thus providing him with the security he does not enjoy at the moment.