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Armchair Scouting - Midfield 2013/14
Written by wkj on Wednesday, 3rd Apr 2013 16:26

To the joy of many ITFC fans, the once leakiest defence in the country has now become one of the toughest nuts to crack. Now the attention has moved towards questionable distribution, leading to a lack of goals.

Next season will be Mick's first full year at Portman Road and no fans want to see a repeat of the Paul Jewell drama, another manager who comes in halfway through the seasons, saves the club from certain relegation (fingers crossed) then chucks it all away next season.

Paul Jewell had to bring in a high number of loans into the club, which rarely offered much excitement. Ultimately, the feeling is with FFP on the horizon, teams are going to have to try and do a lot more with a lot less.

As a fan this leads me to put myself in the fantasy position of an armchair scout. If I was to work for our great club, who would I see as a possible bargain coup next year?

Midfield seems to be our biggest problem next year. Lee Martin and Andy Drury seem unlikely to extend their contracts, Loanee Guirane N'Daw has a degree of off the field issues and Carlos Edwards is at the point of his career where he could well be pulling away from his peak.

Luke Hyam seems an ever improving force for the club who will hopefully continue to grow and feature in the squad. Who might be a bargain buy to fill the gaps in the middle (including competition/rotation for Edwards)?

The following shortlist of players are likely to hold 'bargain bin' price tags, should the transfer budget not allow us to sign who we see as the ideal transfers and more obvious targets on the wish list.

Mark Duffy - Scunthorpe Utd

Born in 1985, Duffy is player born in Liverpool, who joined Scunthorpe (then in the Championship) in 2011 following stays at various lower league clubs. The 27-year-old right winger is no stranger to setting up goals with 14 assists and four goals from 38 matches this season alone. Scunthorpe are currently dangerously close to being relegated into League Two, and he may well fit well in the ITFC set up for relatively little (his contract is nearing its conclusion). Although Edwards shows little signs of slowing down, he is at a point in his career where it may be wise to start looking for a replacement.

Dean Cox - Leyton Orient

Born in 1987, Cox enjoyed a five-year stay at Brighton and Hove Albion (2005-10) scoring 16 goals in 146 games. After a loan to Eastbourne, Orient decided to call upon the services of this winger/attacking midfielder, who has scored 22 in 122 for the club, providing a modest 12 assists this season alone. Orient are currently fighting for a play-off spot, although with teams above holding multiple games in hand, achieving this would be very unlikely. With the fantastic mentoring of Terry Connor and the coaching staff, could this player be a more creative and hungry option for the out of favour (amongst the fans) Drury, whose future with the club is in question?

Luke Murphy - Crewe

At just 23 Murphy has made 157 appearances and 20 goals for Crewe since 2008. Crewe are renowned for producing quality young players and having provided the Railwaymen with 10 assists this campaign, his quality is evident. The versatile midfielder seems to enjoy taking as well as making chances. Crewe's play-off chances were extinguished following a poor March, and a Championship team may well lure this up and coming talent for a reasonable fee.

Jacob Mellis - Barnsley

This 22-year-old midfielder started his career at Chelsea before being loaned out to Southampton and Barnsley. Mellis eventually opted to join the Tykes in 2012, notching five goals and nine assists in 28 games played for far. Mellis has represented England at U19, U17 and U16 levels. He agreed a two-year deal in 2012, but the relegation threatened team may find it hard to keep this lad if they drop. Although talented, Mellis has a history of antics both at club level and off the field, could the wise of owl McCarthy keep this lad's feet on the ground?

Mark Bryne - Barnet

Born in Kilnamanagh, Dublin, this 5ft 9in tall 24-year-old is currently enjoying life in League Two with Barnet, making nine assists. Barnet have had a disappointing year and are currently 18th in the league, however Bryne has often been a reoccurring glimmer of light, having found the net 14 times in 104 appearances for the club (28 of which were on loan) Could this midfielder learn and adapt from Mick and Terry? Securing this player would likely be quite cheap.

These articles are always fun to write, as there are more obvious targets that present themselves if the money is right, however if we now have to embrace a bargain buy culture for FFP in 2013/14, could these players just be the hidden gems lurking in the bargain bin?

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runaround added 19:02 - Apr 3
Interesting read, that type of player is one of the routes Mick is likely to go down. However my understanding of FPP is that we cam spemd as much as we like on fees but our wagebill can only be a certain percentage of our turnover. This is likely to mean smaller squads & also will put us at a considerable disadvantage against teams with parachute payments or those with bigger attendances.

wkj added 19:11 - Apr 3
You're right; I do believe Something needs to be done to stabilise club finance but I think FFP is a bad system for equality. I lived in the states for 8 years and althought their sports don't hold me as much as my dear ITFC they operate a salary cap (as dictated by the league) which I think is a better idea. However the PL and FA in England and leagues abroad would have to be in 100% synchronicity on this or it will just drive all the players to the land where the most loot is. Nevertheless I am always a fan of a good bargain player (Matty Holland) and really think out of all the above Luke Murphy is a great target and I'd love to see him as a blie

IamSpartacus added 10:00 - Apr 4
Since Magilton I have started each summer with excitement (apart from last season perhaps, when it was already clear Jewell didn't have a clue). Who will we buy, will they be the catalyst for better performances etc. Even with Keane I had hoped for some sort of Keane-Fergie agreement (Scholes would have done!).

This summer looks to be the one that will bear fruit. We have been advised of a clear intent to get 'the right players in' (both in talent and character- a reason Mellis might not be an option). Even the loanees MM got in appear to fit the right slots- and even a few loaned in prior to buying, making the players immediately tied to the club. Love it.

I would agree that Midfield is an immediate concern (N'Daw has ON field issues too, with any pass over 10 yards). I too like the idea of Murphy ('Crewe youth product' has the same footballing quality ring as 'Waitrose premium item' in supermarkets).

I would add, if we could afford him, Harry Forrester to the list. Getting up the wings with serious pace would add another dimension.

One thing is sure, and I make no excuses for this positivity already, but as soon as the odds are out for next season, I am right on for a 'promotion' bet. Mick McCarthy has already shown what he can manufacture from the addled ineptitude of Jewell, imagine what he will do with his own selection..... (let me be wildly optimistic just this once... :-) )

wkj added 17:08 - Apr 4
In a word Sparticus; 100%. You've just summed up what I feel- positive; excited and optimistic. I can definitely see us in a scrap for 6th next season; if not- greater. Mick has systematically fixed holes in key areas- Stearman (would love to have him perminantly) and Orr were both hits. McGoldrick was good and hopefully is a blue next season as Hyam an Tommy Smith have become new players for Mick and Terry. Paul Jewell reminded me of a kid looking in the tin of Christmas sweets after it had been well selected from; rather than route around and search for the Caramel kegs he just lunged his hand in late and ended up with a handful of coffee creams with hopes of better. What is note worthy also is the amount of players who state they want to play for Mick- that's helped land us players who may well have suffered the usual 13th hour 180 degree turn after the medical. We still have many gaps to fill an the small matter of 6 games to see out; however I have more faith than hope now. Forrester is a cracking player too! COYB

DanLyles added 12:56 - Apr 5
Great article. My dream side for next season including signings (should we stay up):


A. Judge P. Taylor C. Burke

N'Daw/Hyam Mellis

Cresswell Smith Chambers Stearman



DanLyles added 15:14 - Apr 5
So my 4-2-3-1 would allow McGoldrick to continue leading the line, the back five to continue as they have been, with N'Daw or Hyam (who ever is in form) shielding them. Then finally we can add some creativity. Mellis is one of the best passers at this level and would get the ball moving forward quickly and accurately. Then the trio roaming behind McGoldrick would be interchangable. Paul Taylor can beat a man and add goals; Judge will slide balls through add driving runs and chip in with goals from distance; then Chris Burke would add the much needed quality from the wing.

theobald1985 added 11:21 - Apr 9
How about:4-2-3-1
stearman, chambers, smith, cresswell.
n'daw, hyam

seems plenty good enough to me and would only need to sign the current loan players and we could still have chops and murphy drury edwards on the bench.
It would be a mistake to bring in loads of players again we need to develop the group we have and get behind them

Earl60 added 14:54 - Apr 9
We need stability, keep all players that want to stay, and add just one quality striker, and one midfielder. The squad have proved good enough under MM to be at least play off material, even top two.
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