Signing a striker is Lambert’s top priority... Here are 11 that he might consider

PUBLISHED: 06:00 31 July 2020

Armand Gnaduillet, Danny Graham and Collin Quaner are all free agents. Photos: PA/Archant

Armand Gnaduillet, Danny Graham and Collin Quaner are all free agents. Photos: PA/Archant

Archant

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert is keen to beef up his forward options this summer. STUART WATSON takes a look at 11 strikers who could fit the bill.

Jonson Clarke-Harris has scored 27 goals in less than two seasons with Bristol Rovers. Photo: DOUGIE ALLWARD/JWPJonson Clarke-Harris has scored 27 goals in less than two seasons with Bristol Rovers. Photo: DOUGIE ALLWARD/JWP

Jonson Clarke-Harris

Has scored 24 goals in 42 League One appearances for Bristol Rovers over a prolific 18 month period.

Left-footed, strong and direct, the former Coventry man has found the net in varied fashion – there have been penalties, poacher’s finishes, quick feet in the box, long-range thunderbolts, a fair few headers and even an eye-catching overhead kick.

The 26-year-old now heads into the final year of his Memorial Stadium contract and, if he’s unwilling to sign a new deal, the South West club may reluctantly decide to cash in on him now.

Armand Gnanduillet scored 18 goals for Blackpool last season. Photo: PAArmand Gnanduillet scored 18 goals for Blackpool last season. Photo: PA

Armand Gnanduillet

French forward, now 28, has matured like a fine wine in the last two years.

For a long time he was an inconsistent fourth-tier target man at the likes of Chesterfield, Tranmere, Stevenage and Leyton Orient.

Something has clicked for him at Blackpool though. After bagging 14 goals for the Tangerines in 2018/19 he’s just finished the curtailed 2019/20 season with an impressive 18.

Towering headers are the 6ft 4in front man’s stock-in-trade. He’ll often drop deep to start a move before eating up the pitch with long strides and ultimately ending up on the end of the cross.

His CV might put possibly Championship clubs off taking a gamble, leaving several League One clubs in a bun fight for the free agent.

Danny Graham was largely an impact sub for Blackburn in 2019/20. Photo: PADanny Graham was largely an impact sub for Blackburn in 2019/20. Photo: PA

Danny Graham

He may be 34, but the well-travelled front man still appears to be going strong.

After playing a key role in Blackburn’s promotion from League One, he featured in 38 of their Championship games last season – 24 of those appearances coming off the bench.

The former Carlisle, Watford, Sunderland and Swansea striker has since been released as Tony Mowbray looks to develop a more possession-based style of play.

“The journey through League One, we were more direct than we are now,” said Mowbray. “And with direct football, Danny Graham is a massive attribute and a massive asset.”

Matty Taylor is a free agent after scoring 17 goals on loan at Oxford United last season. Photo: PAMatty Taylor is a free agent after scoring 17 goals on loan at Oxford United last season. Photo: PA

Matty Taylor

Best known for crossing the Bristol divide when swapping Rovers for City in January 2017.

He racked up several Championship appearances for the Robins over three seasons but struggled for goals and was allowed to join Oxford United on loan last season.

After scoring 17 goals in 37 appearances for Karl Robinson’s men, helping them to the Play-Off Final, he now finds himself a free agent.

The 30-year-old is always on the move in the box and strikes the ball with venom. A neat clever first touch often gives him a sight of goal.

Sam Winnall is a free agent after four largely frustrating years at Sheffield Wednesday. Photo: PASam Winnall is a free agent after four largely frustrating years at Sheffield Wednesday. Photo: PA

Sam Winnall

Can play through the middle and wide left? Tick. Has fired a club to League One promotion? Tick. Free agent? Tick.

The 29-year-old has been let go by Sheffield Wednesday after making just 43 appearances for the club in four years. He initially struggled for game time after joining from South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, enjoyed a decent loan spell at Derby and then was sidelined for eight months with a knee injury.

Likely to have Championship interest, but dropping back down a level might not completely be out of the question. He scored plenty of goals in the third-tier for Scunthorpe and the Tykes.

Danny Ward is set to depart Cardiff in the search for regular game time. Photo: PADanny Ward is set to depart Cardiff in the search for regular game time. Photo: PA

Danny Ward

A player who Ipswich were very keen on back in 2017. Instead he moved from Rotherham to Cardiff.

He’s scored 12 goals in three seasons at the South Wales club – four in a promotion year, just one in a Premier League relegation season and seven in the current Championship campaign – always finding a run of starts hard to come by.

Indeed, the 28-year-old hasn’t started a game for the Bluebirds since the Covid-19 restart though and will soon be out of contract.

Speaking back in February, Bluebirds boss Neil Harris said: “Danny’s at a stage of his career when, well, what’s important to him? Location? Starting, playing every minute of every game? There’s a lot for him and the club to consider.”

Left-footed, he’s another who would be capable of playing a wide forward role if required. Given he’s not played below the Championship since 2011, a club like Ipswich would really have to sell themselves.

Omar Bogle is another striker who has been released by Cardiff. Photo: PAOmar Bogle is another striker who has been released by Cardiff. Photo: PA

Omar Bogle

Wigan (£750k) and Cardiff (£1m) once paid good money for the man who scored freely lower down the pyramid for the likes of Solihull Moors and Grimsby.

He’s found game time and goals hard to come by at Championship level over the past four seasons though and, after loan spells at Birmingham, Portsmouth and Dutch side Den Haag, he’s now a free agent.

Still only 27, he may well have to get his career going again in League One.

Strong, skilful and left-footed, he may be an appealing option to Ipswich if top targets prove out of reach.

Rhys Healey enjoyed an impressive season in League One with MK Dons. Photo: PARhys Healey enjoyed an impressive season in League One with MK Dons. Photo: PA

Rhys Healy

Bagged nine goals for MK Dons on their way to League Two promotion and then netted another 12 goals (in just 20 appearances) during the recent League One campaign.

Cardiff may be beginning to regret letting the 25-year-old go given he scored regularly during previous loan spells at the likes of Newport and Torquay too.

Shows neat footwork in tight areas, strikes the ball crisply with either foot and stuck a free-kick in the top corner too.

With two years left to run on his deal, the 25-year-old would command a decent transfer fee.

Tyler Walker has had impressive loan spells with Mansfield and Lincoln. Photo: PATyler Walker has had impressive loan spells with Mansfield and Lincoln. Photo: PA

Tyler Walker

Nottingham Forest forward heads into the final year of his contract knowing this could be now or never for him at his hometown club.

The 23-year-old has now had back-to-back loan successes, scoring 22 goals in League Two for Mansfield and then netting 14 times for Lincoln in League One during the first half of the season just gone.

Recalled in January, Sabri Lamouchi handed him one start and six sub appearances in the second half of the Championship campaign with Lewis Grabban very much the main man up front at The City Ground.

Walker scored three goals against Ipswich last season – one in the FA Cup and two in a 5-3 defeat at Sincil Bank – so will certainly have stuck in Paul Lambert’s mind. He also bagged braces against Fleetwood and Sunderland.

Former Ipswich loanee Collin Quaner has been released by Huddersfield. Photo: PAFormer Ipswich loanee Collin Quaner has been released by Huddersfield. Photo: PA

Collin Quaner

Lambert brought Quaner to Portman Road in January 2019, but short of match sharpness he struggled to make much of an impression.

One year on the direct-running German is a free agent after being released by the Terriers following their narrow escape from Championship relegation and shock sacking of Danny Cowley.

He was sidelined for much of the campaign with a hip injury, making just three substitute appearances after the Covid-19 restart.

Capable of playing wide right or through the middle, he now needs to go somewhere and remind people of the player he was when helping Huddersfield to the big time back in 2017.

Liverpool and Wales starlet Ben Woodburn struggled with injuries at Oxford. Photo: PALiverpool and Wales starlet Ben Woodburn struggled with injuries at Oxford. Photo: PA

Ben Woodburn

Steven Gerrard made him captain of Liverpool’s Under-19s, he was on a 100 man shortlist for the 2018 Golden Boy Award and already he has 10 senior caps for Wales at the age of 20.

Woodburn is clearly a talent, but his last two seasons have been badly disrupted by injuries. A spell at Championship club Sheffield United was ruined by ankle problems, then in the season just gone he broke bones in both his feet while at Oxford United. He still managed to score once and provide five assists in just 11 League One starts.

“He’s been really good,” said U’s boss Karl Robinson back in November. “He was one of the most fouled players in the league at one stage and took one tackle which ended up breaking his foot.

“He was certainly getting treatment in our league that I felt wasn’t fair. I think he was a marked man because of his reputation but he’s coped with it so well and Liverpool should be extremely proud of him.

“This injury will certainly make him a better player. Sometimes you have to deal with these situations to become a better player.”

Latest from the Green Un