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McKenna: Perfect Exercise
Saturday, 25th Jun 2022 16:15

Town boss Kieran McKenna felt the Blues’ 7-0 win at Needham Market was the perfect way to get pre-season under way.

Conor Chaplin hit a hat-trick while Matt Penney, Freddie Ladapo, Tommy Hughes and Greg Leigh scored one each.

“It was a perfect exercise for us with where we’re at with our preparation,” McKenna said. “It finishes off our first week well. We’ve had a really hard training week but we wanted to finish it off with something like a match.

“Perfect for us, really grateful for Needham hosting us and hosting us so well and a nice way to finish off the training week and obviously had that extra bit of getting to put the kit on, play in front of the supporters and feel the butterflies of the first match, so ticked a lot of boxes.”

McKenna believes results aren’t that significant in pre-season: “I think the important things are the standards that you lay out for how you’re going to go about your business, the things you work on behind those doors on the training ground and how you develop the culture in the group.

“The results for me are not important in the games. The performances are important, how we go about our business is important but I certainly won’t place too much stock on any of the pre-season results.”

Among those absent from the two XIs McKenna fielded at Bloomfields was new loan signing from Arsenal Tyreece John-Jules, who missed the end of last season with a quad problem while at Sheffield Wednesday.

“He’s just someone we want to build in slowly,” the Blues boss continued. “He arrived a couple of days into our training week. We know he’s coming off the back of a long-term injury, a medium to long-term injury last season.

“I think in general he’s a player we need to be patient with. I’ve said before, he’s a top talent, who if he can get his body to the right condition, the right level of robustness, could be a really big addition and is a really big talent.

“We’re taking not just a short-term view on that but also a slightly more medium and long-term view with his development with is, so the first couple of weeks for him is going to be about work on the training pitch and getting himself in the best condition he can and we’ll build him into the team and the matches when the time’s right.”

Kyle Edwards (quad) and Lee Evans (knee), who both missed the end of last season were involved, with George Edmundson (ankle) and Kayden Jackson (hamstring) not too far away from joining them.

“Progressing well, working hard on the grass now,” he continued. “Not fully in the group sessions but they’re going to start to integrate a little bit with the group next week and then hopefully by the time we got to Loughborough the week after that, all being well, they’ll be fully integrated into the group, so they’re coming on well.”

Wes Burns and Elkan Baggott, who have been given additional time away having been on international duty, are due back soon.

“Wes is returning with the group in the middle of next week, so he’ll join in with the group in the middle of next week, all being well he should travel to Loughborough with us and be available from there on in,” McKenna said.

“Elkan is back in the middle of next week, he’s on holiday at the moment, a well-deserved holiday and he’ll be join back with the group.”

Asked whether much could be read into Rekeem Harper starting the second half at centre-half, McKenna said: “No, not loads. He’s capable in a lot of different positions Rekeem, he has good attributes as we know, it was more about fitting in personnel today for the minutes that we needed, so he did 20 at centre-half.

“We were always going to give Lee [Evans] 20 minutes, Albie’s trained with us all week, so we wanted to give him a little bit of the game as well, so that was a pretty natural switch to give Rekeem some time at centre-half to fill in for us and then have a little run around in midfield when Lee was coming off.”

Town next have a week at Playford Road before travelling to Loughborough University for a training camp where there will be a bit of team bonding in addition to the sessions on the grass.

“We’ll do a few bits, that’s obviously the point of going away as well. We have great conditions at Playford Road at the moment, especially with the Suffolk weather.

“We have everything we need from a football perspective there, but what you don’t get is the 24 hours a day in each others’ company, the meetings early in the morning or late at night and do some team bonding and things during the day which I’m sure in the course of the week that will help develop our spirit and our culture.

“We’ll do some different things off the pitch, so we’re looking forward to this week and it’ll be good to spend that extra bit of time together where you really can connect with people a little bit more.”

The Northern Irishman says the Blues will have their second match in the week: “We have a behind closed doors game next week that the club hasn’t announced yet.

“We have a behind closed doors game next Saturday and then Loughborough will be a full training camp right through to the West Ham game.”

Regarding Needham, he added: “Really nice, I’d heard the set-up was really good, about the new building and the astroturf and the good level pitch, I’d heard about that already because there are some links to the club.

“It was everything we’d hoped for, we got a fantastic welcome, were really well looked after, good facilities. I know Kevin Horlock as well a little bit from before, a really experienced football man, who is growing a good young team himself. We’re just delighted to be out here in the community.

“It’s perfect for us, perfect to see the fans and them to be able to see the players after a little break and most importantly to build those links with the community, which is something that is very important to the club and games like this are part of that.”

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Suffolkboy added 17:03 - Jun 25
Enthusiasm , optimism , organisation ,humanity and humour all emanate from KD !
What a lucky lucky group of players to have he and his colleagues to coach and guide them ; let’s hope they respond accordingly and we are rewarded as supporters this up- coming season !

Ebantiass added 17:36 - Jun 25
Sounds very positive and like most you cant read too much into friendlies this early in the season.


shedboy added 18:32 - Jun 25
I was at the game today and thought it was a brilliant advert for how the new look Ipswich town are once again creating powerful links with the community such a brilliantly well run club in Needham market got the full benefit of a packed house. Supporters got to see some of the new signings and get up close to the town players Who posed for photographs and autographs at the end of the game. The score line was irrelevant and as I was walking back to my car the main feeling was pride for my club and the direction it’s heading in and made me feel excited for the season ahead. A big thank you to all of the volunteers at Needham Market for all their efforts to make it such a well run afternoon out.

Linkboy13 added 19:07 - Jun 25
Anyone who's played the game will know like McKenna said these games very little. If we had beaten Daganham girl piper's some fans on here would be getting carried away. I thought the players modelled the kit very well. Joking aside i can see this squad with the extra physicality in the team winning promotion if we can stay clear of injuries. The important thing is we've four players in before the season has started and hopefully there will be no bedding in period.

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