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Stephen Ward, for the third summer in succession, will be looking for a new club having been released by Ipswich Town after reaching a point where they won’t play him again.

Ward left Burnley two summers ago and signed for Stoke, just as Erik Pieters was about to move in the opposite direction. Signed by Nathan Jones, now again the Luton manager, he picked up an injury at the end of December and wasn’t able to force himself back into the team with new boss Michael O’Neill and played just once more in June at Wigan.

That led to a move to Ipswich where he has played regularly under both Paul Lambert and more recently Paul Cook. He’s started 29 league games for them and he can add one more substitute appearance to that. He has a clause in his contract that guarantees him a new one year deal should he reach 30 league starts, so he’s been left out since playing against Wimbledon on 24th April and been told there will be no new deal.

Manager Paul Cook, who replaced Lambert in March, said: “Stephen has been an absolute pleasure to work with. He conducts himself greatly, he leads by example, and it’s no surprise he’s had the career he’s had. Everyone at the club wishes Stephen all the best for the future and we thank him for his efforts this season.”

Ward, now 35, joined the Clarets from Wolves in August 2014 just as he was about to return to Brighton where he’d played on loan in the previous season. A broken leg meant he didn’t play too often in the first season but once he got his place back at the end of 2015 he was a regular in the side until a knee injury hit early in the 2018/19 season, his last with Burnley.

His final league appearance for us was at Fulham in August 2018 when he was forced off with the injury midway through the second half. With Charlie Taylor stepping up, he was unable to regain his place and made just three further appearances in the two cup competitions. In total he made 106 appearances for the Clarets including four in the Europa League.

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