SHEFFIELD UNITED: Middlesbrough in Stephen Quinn queue

Stephen Quinn

Stephen Quinn

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MIDDLESBROUGH could enter the race for Stephen Quinn after it emerged Championship rivals Ipswich Town are unlikely to pursue their interest in the Sheffield United midfielder.

An emotional Quinn, pictured below, who is also being monitored by Blackpool, stated he is prepared to fulfil his contract at Bramall Lane during the immediate aftermath of last month’s League One play-off final defeat.

But United’s need to cut costs following the governing body’s decision to adopt UEFA’s new financial regulations, coupled with the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international’s ambition, is expected to prompt his departure should an acceptable offer be tabled. Tony Mowbray, the Middlesbrough manager, considered moving for Quinn’s services on the eve of the previous campaign.

However the appointment of Danny Wilson, who worked with the 26-year-old old at MK Dons earlier in his career, persuaded Quinn to stay although Blackpool did test United’s resolve with what was described as a “derisory” bid.

Blackpool boss Ian Holloway remains an admirer but wage restraints are still an issue. That should not prevent Blackpool from trying again if Holloway elects to press ahead while Leeds’ Neil Warnock, who gave Quinn his senior debut after he graduated from Shirecliffe’s youth system, could emerge as a rival if the price is right.

But despite being linked with Quinn earlier this week, The Star understands Ipswich are not among those clubs actively assessing his situation.

Sources in Suffolk indicated last night that Paul Jewell has no plans to make an approach unless there is a change in circumstances at Portman Road.

Mowbray completed his first capture of the summer – Grant Leadbitter from Ipswich – before going on holiday with Carlisle striker Francis Zoko believed to be his next priority.

However, Mowbray, keen on bolstering his midfield options, has said Middlesbrough no longer have the finances which once saw a host of big names move to Teesside. They could be forced to sell Stephen McManus to Bristol City for a cut-price fee before loosening the purse strings further.