Crunch time looms for Town and Walters

IT'S crunch time for Ipswich Town and Jon Walters today as manager Jim Magilton battles to keep his star player.Walters is keen to talk to Stoke City about a possible £3m move to the Premiership club but Town are understandably reluctant to let him leave.

Derek Davis

IT'S crunch time for Ipswich Town and Jon Walters today as manager Jim Magilton battles to keep his star player.

Walters is keen to talk to Stoke City about a possible £3m move to the Premiership club but Town are understandably reluctant to let him leave.

The 24-year-old will discuss his future but it is understood Walters could well be a Stoke City player before the Premier League season starts for them at Bolton on Saturday.

The EADT understands that up until now no formal bid in writing has been tabled by the Potters, although discussions have been had at board level and while Walters has not formally put in a formal transfer request in writing, he has made it clear he wants the opportunity to discuss a move.

It is believed matters came to a head almost three weeks ago and Walters was told to go away and sort his head out and be with expectant wife.

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Walters has been training at Chester City's Diva Stadium and following a specially designed fitness programme but has not played games.

Last season's player of the year returns to Portman Road this morning after being with his wife Joanne as she gave birth to their second daughter on Friday

He has been pencilled in to play against Leyton Orient in the Carling Cup at Portman Road tomorrow evening and he will if asked to.

Although Walters has been exceptionally happy at Ipswich since his £150,000 switch from Chester City in January 2006, and was the Blues' top scorer last season with 13 goals and nine assists, the former Hull City player is desperate to play in the top flight. A move to Stoke would also take him back closer to his north-west roots.

Walters is also pushing for a place in the Republic of Ireland squad and a move to the Premiership could help in those aspirations.

Magilton will not allow the ale to go through willingly, but also knows keeping an unhappy player could be detrimental to the squad.

As well as a hefty cash payment, Magilton could also try and secure a player in the deal with Leon Cort or Ricardo Fuller the most likely targets.

Attempts to land David Nugent from Portsmouth have been helped after the striker was left out of the squad that played Manchester United in the Community Shield yesterday. Manager Harry Redknapp has made it clear to the 26-year-old that he no longer figures in his plans at Fratton Park.

Nugent could sign initially on a loan deal, as planned last season, with the option to sign if Ipswich were promoted to the Premier League in a deal that could reach £3.5m.

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