May 19 2013 Latest news:
By Stuart Watson
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
IPSWICH Town’s hopes of signing striker Sam Baldock on a season-long loan hinge on whether West Ham win Saturday’s Championship play-off final.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce rates the 23-year-old highly, but will want him to continue his development in the Championship if his team are promoted back to the Premier League with victory over Blackpool at Wembley on Saturday.
And the EADT understands that Allardyce has already told close friend Paul Jewell that he will have first option.
The Blues boss revealed at last November’s supporters’ club AGM that he was a big admirer of the short, but powerful front man. It is understood that he was keen to sign him from League One club MK Dons last summer, only for West Ham to snap him up on a four-year deal – the transfer fee believed to be around £2.75million with add-ons.
Having scored 43 goals in 82 starts for the Dons, Baldock made an instant impact at Championship level, scoring five goals in his first six games for West Ham.
The arrival of front men Ricardo Vaz Te and Nicky Maynard in the January transfer window saw him slip down the pecking order though and he finished the campaign with just 11 starts and 12 substitute appearances to his name.
The Hammers have a plethora of strikers, with the likes of Carlton Cole, John Carew, Frederic Piquionne and Freddie Sears also on the books. Town, meanwhile, are short of options in that department.
Michael Chopra top-scored for the Blues with 14 goals last season, while Jason Scotland looks set to sign a new deal. Tamas Priskin had his contract cancelled back in January, while Nathan Ellington has been told he can “move on” by Jewell.
The Blues boss admitted recently that he would be interested in bringing Connor Wickham back to Portman Road on loan, with the teenager having failed to make an impact at Sunderland following his £8.1m switch. A sizeable loan fee and wages could prove a stumbling block though, with Baldock a cheaper option.