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Goals From Midfield
Written by rickw on Monday, 18th May 2015 22:02

Looking back on this season and most of us would admit Ipswich reached or exceeded our expectations, but after coming so close to success we are now all hungry for more - and for Ipswich to take that next step and challenge for automatic promotion.

In January I saw our game vs Derby as a good indication of where the title might be going - however this couldn't have been less accurate! There were four teams at the end of the season still fighting for automatic promotion, and unfortunately we weren't one of them.

If you compare our team to the others in the top eight then it's clear where we fall short - midfield, specifically goals from midfield. Now I know our midfielders have their own merits (mostly workrate) and I don't expect too many goals from Cole Skuse, but we need more from others.

I have compared who scored the goals for all the top eight:

Brentford50(Jota 10, Pritchard 11, Douglas 7)
Derby41(Ince 11, Hendrick 7, Ward 6)
Norwich40(Johnson 15, Howson 9, Hoolahan 5)
Bournemouth38(Ritchie 15, Pugh 9, Arter 9)
Wolves29(Sako 15, Edwards 6, Henry 5)
Watford22(Abdi 9, Tozser 5)
Middlesbrough21(Leadbitter 11, Adomah 6)
Ipswich10(Tabb 2, Anderson 2)

Now I know there are reasons which contribute to this stat - like some of the teams play five in midfield and for parts of the season we've just played three or played Jonny Parr on the wing (whose two goals I counted towards the defence tally) but even so we have fallen far short of our rivals.

Just to be fair, in other areas of the pitch we've fared well:


Now although it's unfair to expect Daryl Murphy to get another 27 or Christophe Berra six, but I'm sure David McGoldrick and Freddie Sears will get more, and Tyrone Mings and Luke Chambers are capable of more than their one.

So if they can keep up their levels and if we can get just 10 more goals from midfield (which would still leave us bottom of this years stats!) I think we'll be in with a shout.

So who to get? Now I know a lot of the Championship's high scoring midfielders like Bakary Sako and Michail Antonio wouldn't be Mick McCarthy type players, ie we know it's a pre-requisite that they're of a certain character and will work hard, rather than inconsistent brilliant or anonymous players.

But I'm sure there are players who would fit the criteria - I was impressed with Bradley Johnson's defensive effort against us and he's got 15 goals - however we couldn't pay the fee to take a key player from a promotion rival and we should never ever sign a Norwich player!

Now I haven't seen as many Championship or Football League games as many others so I have confidence that McCarthy and his scouting team will know of several players who would fit the bill.

In my limited knowledge James McClean from Wigan maybe one. I've read Wigan fans calling him their hardest working player and although his six goals isn't incredible - it was for a struggling team and still three times what our top scoring midfielder got!

Martin O'Neill is said not to be keen to call up players from below the Championship, which is perhaps what's prompted Wigan to announce they would want £2.5m for him in today's papers.

Another perhaps could be Sean Scannell from Huddersfield, maybe more inconsistent than others but he destroyed many left-backs this season getting Huddersfield surprise results against some of the top sides.

This type of fee would take a change in tack from Marcus Evans, but he threw millions at Roy Keane and Paul Jewell and now I hope McCarthy has proved himself so if there's one season to show a bit more ambition and spend a little more to take a chance on promotion - it has to be this one coming!

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blueblood66 added 22:49 - May 18
Great blog. McLean is one I have been banging on about, but that fee would rule us out I guess. If you want real quality you do have to fork out occasionally.

Town4me added 00:21 - May 19
Why do people keep going on about Evans spending more money?! Correct me if I'm wrong but I dont think its a case of that is it? FFP! Hasnt Mick been saying for the last two years that we can't unless we want to end up like QPR!

bedsitfc added 06:00 - May 19
Money is the problem we must stay within the rules but we have a way around these rules that is just not open to other teams.

Our club sponsor is ????
Marcus Evans.
Our chairman is ???
Marcus Evans.

He can increase the sponsorship deal which would leave more in the transfer kitty.

bedsitfc added 06:09 - May 19
On saying that I don't blame him for not doing it as he is already propping us up, and if it wasn't for him god know where we would be.
Our biggest problem is our supporters!!!!!
Stay away jo's!!!!
If we averaged 25000+ each home game instead of 17000 we would bring in almost an extra 1/4 of a million quid.
First leg against Norwich, when we got behind the team it push us forward and Norwich were up against it but as soon as we lowered the noise they came back at us.

rickw added 08:55 - May 19
This season showed that when we are competing at the top those fans will come back - £1/4 mil extra each game would cover the costs of a couple of transfers

prebbs007 added 09:08 - May 19
Excellent blog !!! Just adds weight to the argument why give Tabb an extension. We need pace creativity and goals from midfield, not headless chicken running terrible touch and no goals (4 in 81 games) ...... Your stats show a clear picture. Well done for highlighting our short comings. Let's hope the powers that be address it. Have a good summer.

dannyrr added 12:43 - May 19
Maybe we'll be able to take that step by the relaxing of FFP rules by Platini. I'm not talking about going nuts just enough to bring a few quality players which might make a difference to our automatic promotion dream. I am however not saying that signing a big name will guarantee us anything as they don't always fit the bill when they move. Chopra as an example.

everhopeful added 12:53 - May 20
Relaxing of FFP rules a) won't happen and b) will achieve nothing - if they relax for us then they relax for everyone else, and we've got a lot less spending power than other teams in the Championship who'll simply outbid us.

Sako's supposedly off to Villa and you can bet that none of the top eight who've missed out this season will sell their finest who stay in the Championship to a rival. We'll have better luck looking for young talents in League 1, Bournemouth style, or using Mick's loan skill.

If we can fight off competitors for Dele Alli next year or Pritchard fails to get a look in at Spurs, you can bet they'll be available for loan. Our midfield next year might just depend on Mauricio Pochettino - not sure how to feel about that...

jas0999 added 17:56 - May 23
Yep good blog which demonstrates why ultimately we fell short this season. When your top scorer in midfield has two, it's not good enough. Defensively we were good and they chipped in with goals. The strikers also delivered. We HAVE to improve the midfield and buy a goal scorer in that area. The wings lack pace and goals to. Tabb is not the answer. Sadly these players will cost money. Evans seems reluctant to spend on a fee.

blueherts added 14:29 - May 25
Totally agree PACE AND WIDTH is something we have to add to give us that extra element
Maybe Henshall will step up next year - we have the young Irish lads - who sound great potential - but would like a Scanell type player
When I watched Wood it was interesting that some of his runs off the last man - esp against Brentford at home were good - he was caught offside - mostly cause we were too slow to release the ball - Tempo of our midfield is too one paced to open teams up and that is also where we sometimes fall down
Good blog of a good season and if we make those additions we can def press next year

Pilgrimblue added 21:22 - May 25
Another good blog and makes intersting reading. If penalties were ignored as we got so few, we'd still be short of goals. We need someone like Prichard (loanee) or Richie to help our forwards. But good that our defence came out top even though they dried up a bit in 2015.

goat_man added 15:24 - Jun 5
Who we need is Moses Odubajo from Brentford down the wings.
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