Town offer Ward contract after veteran impresses in training

PUBLISHED: 14:33 13 August 2020

Stephen Ward could become Ipswich Town's first summer signing. Picture: PA

Stephen Ward could become Ipswich Town's first summer signing. Picture: PA

Archant

Ipswich Town have offered free agent full-back Stephen Ward a contract, we understand.

Ward, pictured during his time with Burnley. Picture: PAWard, pictured during his time with Burnley. Picture: PA

The former Republic of Ireland international has been training with the Blues since the start of this week, with the 34-year-old thought to have impressed Paul Lambert and his coaching staff during his early sessions with the club.

Negotiations remain ongoing, but it’s understood a contract has been offered.

The Blues have been in looking at signing a new left-sided player for much of the summer, with former loanee Luke Garbutt a prime target.

However, negotiations have become more difficult for any League One side looking to sign him following the introduction of the new £2.5m salary cap.

Former Republic of Ireland international, and favourite of Mick McCarthy, Stephen Ward is training with Ipswich. Picture: PAFormer Republic of Ireland international, and favourite of Mick McCarthy, Stephen Ward is training with Ipswich. Picture: PA

MORE: ‘Solid’, ‘capable’ and ‘sound enough’ – Town trialist was a six out of 10 man at Stoke

Ipswich remain in contact with Garbutt and have asked to be informed of any developments regarding his future but, as things stand, he is unlikely to join. Sunderland are also interested and have made the former Everton man an offer, with the salary cap again likely to restrict their movement.

Town have wasted no time moving on to Ward and could make the experienced campaigner their first summer signing.

“Stephen is with us for a little while,” Town’s general manager football operations, Lee O’Neill said earlier this week.

“He’s training with us and will have a look at the club and we will have a look at him. It’s no more than that at this stage.”

MORE: ‘Wonderful’ Ward is the converted striker who became McCarthy’s trusted left-back... but is he what Town need?

The vastly experienced left-back, with more than 400 first-team appearances and seven seasons in the Premier League to his name, started his career in England at Wolves where he played under former Town boss Mick McCarthy.

Ward spent seven years at Molineux before joining Burnley in August 2014 where he helped the Clarets establish themselves in the top flight.

Ward joined Stoke in the summer of 2019 on a one year contract and also has a loan spell at Brighton on his CV.

Capped by the Republic of Ireland for the first time in 2011, Ward went on to make 50 appearances, scoring three goals. He represented his country in the 2016 European Championships before announcing his international retirement last year.

Latest from the Green Un