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Strike two for Town

PUBLISHED: 21:00 17 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

IPSWICH are fast closing in on transfer target Nicky Forster - with a second striker likely to follow.

Negotiations with Forster are at an advanced stage and the formalities should be completed early next week.

IPSWICH are fast closing in on transfer target Nicky Forster - with a second striker likely to follow.

Negotiations with Forster are at an advanced stage and the formalities should be completed early next week.

The ex-Reading man will be the first of at least two new recruits to Joe Royle's depleted squad.

Forster, 31, looks like being Royle's first summer signing after he knocked back a 12-month extension to his Reading contract.

He is close to agreeing a two-year deal at Portman Road and Town are likely to beat a number of their Championship rivals for his signature.

Royle is also talking to another big-name striker and remains hopeful of completing another deal in the next week or so.

He is giving nothing away as to the identity of his second transfer target, but the Town boss is determined to rebuild his squad and be in the forefront of the

promotion race again next term.

Royle plans to form a brand new strike force, replacing the departed duo of Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi with Forster and the mystery man.

It will be a tough act to follow, with last season's pair grabbing 39 goals between them.

I understand Royle is also likely to abandon his search for an experienced keeper and instead start the new campaign with Lewis Price as his first choice and teenager Shane Supple on the bench.

The Town boss originally intended bringing in a new man because of the proposed transfer window system to be introduced within the Coca-Cola League next term.

That would have prevented any deals between September 1 and January 1 - but the introduction of unlimited loans has come to the rescue.

Now Royle can demonstrate his faith in 21-year-old Price and only look to recruit an experienced keeper on a temporary basis to cater for any injuries, form lapses etc.

Meanwhile, mystery surrounds the destination of last season's top scorer, Kuqi, after he informed Royle that he would not be returning to Portman Road next season.

Clearly, he has received a better offer and it was thought that it had come from Blackburn, who were rumoured to be interested straight after the end of the season.

But the Ewood Park club insist they have no interest in Kuqi, who is now being linked with Crystal Palace.

It is unusual that the player has informed Ipswich he will not be returning, yet nothing is known of where he intends to launch the next chapter of his career.

The plot thickened when Royle suggested that Kuqi and best pal Miller, who will sign for Sunderland upon his return from honeymoon next week, had been lured away by the promise of Premiership football.

London sources suggest West Ham, who KO'd Town's promotion dream in the play-offs and are keen to extend their attacking options, could be Kuqi's next port of call.


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