Town set sights on Sutton

IPSWICH are planning a sensational swoop for ex-Norwich striker Chris Sutton, news that will stun supporters of both clubs.Boss Jim Magilton was also locked in negotiations with three potential signings, with one player set to depart Portman Road on a day of frenzied transfer activity.

By Mel Henderson

IPSWICH are planning a sensational swoop for ex-Norwich striker Chris Sutton, news that will stun supporters of both clubs.

Boss Jim Magilton was also locked in negotiations with three potential signings, with one player set to depart Portman Road on a day of frenzied transfer activity.

The experienced Sutton is still without a club after his release by Birmingham City following their relegation from the Premiership last season.

Magilton admitted his interest in the 33-year-old former England star, who has also played for Blackburn, Chelsea and Celtic.

He said: “We may well do something but Chris is having a scan on a groin problem and it might be that we could do a pay-as-you-play deal.

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“I think we have to be interested in Chris. Who wouldn't? He is moving back to the area and we'll see how things go.”

Regardless of Town's interest in Sutton, they were confident of completing a triple signing - two permanent deals and one on loan - as Magilton moved to reinforce his squad ahead of Saturday's big kick-off.

One of the newcomers could be Leeds left-back Dan Harding, who has been on Town's wanted list for some time, but the identity of the other two was a closely guarded secret.

Magilton is locked in negotiations in an attempt to finalise all three deals as quickly as possible - and he revealed further new faces could quickly follow.

If all goes according to plan, Ipswich will have the new players on board for Saturday's big kick-off against Crystal Palace at Portman Road.

Magilton said: “There is a lot happening and I hope to have things tied up before the end of the day. That might not be the end of our transfer activity this week.”

I understand Harding's arrival will be as part of a player-plus-cash proposal by Leeds, with a Town player set to move to Elland Road as part of the deal.

The incoming cash will be useful as Magilton plans to further strengthen his squad. Two players will be permanent signings, with the other joining on loan.

Ipswich could also renew their interest in Manchester United defender Paul McShane after feeling they were close to a season-long loan deal last week.

Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson scuppered their plans and quoted a fee of £250,000 for the player, which Town are now in a position to afford.

Meanwhile, Magilton has vowed to defy the bookmakers who have written off his team's promotion chances.

Town have been dismissed as Championship no-hopers by the leading firms, who rate them anywhere between 25-1 and 40-1 to win the title.

Even when it comes to winning promotion, they don't fancy Ipswich's chances, with odds varying from 8-1 to 14-1.

But new boss Magilton said: “I really couldn't care less about what the bookies think. They've been wrong in the past and they'll be wrong again.

“My attitude is 'Bring it on!' I've got my players fired up for the start of the season and I have every confidence in them.”

There are at least a dozen clubs rated as better bets than Town, mainly because last season they slumped to their worst finish in 40 years - 15th.

But today's development, with three players in and one on his way, is bound to influence the odds-makers and revise their thinking.