O'Neill Not Expecting Busy Transfer Window
Tuesday, 31st Dec 2019 16:11
General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill is expecting a quiet January transfer window, but expects one or two of the Blues’ younger players to go out on loan to gain experience. O'Neill also says owner Marcus Evans is pleased with the club's position going into the second half of the campaign, despite the recent downturn in form.
The January transfer window opens at midnight with Town already having announced one deal, the signing of free agent Levi Andoh, a 19-year-old right-back who will join up with the development squad having been offered an 18-month contract having impressed on trial earlier in the season.
“We’re always looking out there to see in what areas we could strengthen the squad,” O’Neill told iFollow Ipswich. “We’ve got a big squad and I think we’ve got a healthy squad.
“I was only watching training yesterday with [academy head of player and coaching development] Bryan [Klug] and the team that aren’t even starting today are in a very healthy position to be League One starters.
“We have to look at our squad in general. We will keep looking to see if there are those players that can make the difference.
“But it's exciting for us is that we’ve got Freddie Sears just about back, Teddy Bishop just about back and obviously Kane Vincent-Young’s not a million miles away.
“They’re three important players that are adding to the squad that haven’t been [involved in] the first half of the season, so any players that we are looking at would have to be better than we’ve got.”
He he expects loan moves for the younger players on the fringes of the squad, such as Armando Dobra, Idris El Mizouni, Harry Wright, Ben Folami, Ben Morris, Aaron Drinan, Brett McGavin, Tommy Hughes and Bailey Clements, to be more common than switches in or out for senior players.
“If we look at the loan market for our existing players as part of their education, young players, because if we look at well how well Luke Woolfenden’s done this season, I think it’s a credit to the plan that was put in place with what he did at Bromley and Swindon when he got those loan experiences,” he added.
“It’s something we will look at for our younger players, so it could be busy on that front. But I’m not expecting a massively busy transfer [window in terms] of players in and out, but at the same time not taking our eye off the ball about what players are out there.
“We’ve got a very good recruitment system in place at the moment and we’ll keep looking to see where we can add some strength.”
While acknowledging that form over the last 10 games has been far from ideal, O’Neill says owner Marcus Evans is pleased with the Blues’ overall current situation sitting fourth in the table going into the second half of the season.
“Absolutely delighted to be in the position we’re in now,” he said. “When we talked about it at the end of last season, if someone had said ‘Christmas Day, Boxing Day you’ll be in second position, had been in first for a period of time, in a really healthy position for the second half of the season’, he would have snapped your hand off.
“We’ve given ourselves a really good chance to kick on for 2020 and from my point of view and Marcus’s point of view, we’re behind everything, we’re really trying hard, whether that’s meetings at the training ground, attending games or whether that’s meetings with Paul in general, we’re all on the same page and we know what the plan is.”
He added: “To reiterate the point I made earlier on, we’re 100 per cent behind [Paul] and the players to try and achieve the goal, which is to try and get promoted as soon as possible. It might take time but we want to achieve it as soon as possible.”
And if promotion isn’t achieved this season, would that be disastrous? “I think we’ll all reflect on it [if Town aren’t in that position] at the end of the season when we can be judged on what’s happened this season. If we weren’t able to successfully get promoted we’ll have to look at a few things that we’ve done through the course of this year.
“When you say disastrous, would it be that we’ve got a lot of young players that have played and played really well and made a lot of appearances? Has the style of football improved? Has the entertainment value gone up? There are a lot of things that we can add in to that assessment of whether it’s been a successful season or not.
“We’re only halfway through that initial first stage of it and the plan is not just one season, we’ve got to look a little bit further beyond that, the second, the third and the fourth year, to build that team that Paul wants isn’t going happen overnight.
“Mistakes will be made on the pitch, players are only human and mistakes will be made off the pitch, staff and people who work for the club are only human at the same time.
“We try and make as few as them as possible and make sure that over a short period of time we can deliver on those objectives as quickly as possible.
“But it is important to say that it’s not an easy task because everyone would be doing it if it was the case.”
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