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McKenna: A Fantastic Start
Tuesday, 18th Jun 2024 09:40

Boss Kieran McKenna hailed the Blues’ opening to their first Premier League campaign in 22 years “a fantastic start” with Liverpool visiting on the opening day before a trip to face champions Manchester City the following weekend.

The Reds, Town’s final opponents in their last stint in the top flight between 2000 and 2002, visit for a 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday 17th August with the game being shown live by TNT Sports. The Blues’ first ever visit to the Etihad Stadium follows the next Saturday.

“It’s a fantastic start,” McKenna told Sky Sports News from fixtures release reception held for sponsors at Portman Road.

“Everyone’s going to be so excited, two of the biggest clubs in world football. A home start against Liverpool, it brings it all to life and it’s an amazing start for us.

“We’re delighted to have a home game first. We know the atmosphere that has been created over the last couple of years in the stadium and we know that will carry on even more so this year.

“So it’s great to have a home start, to have one of the best teams in the league, for sure, is a big challenge.

“Of course, they’ve a new manager [Arne Slot] and things like that but we’re certainly not going to underestimate the scale of the challenges that we’re going to have all season, and certainly Liverpool will be that on the first day.

“But at the same time, it’s great to have a home start, the atmosphere’s going to be fantastic, the players will be as ready as they possibly can be and it’s a game we’ll really look forward to.”

CEO Mark Ashton added: “It’s suddenly got very real, very quickly! I think it’s great, not only for the club but for the town and the wider county and the fanbase to be at home for the first game and against one of the biggest football clubs in the world.

“Kieran’s right, we won’t underestimate the size of the challenge but we’re just eager to get under way.”

Quizzed on how preparations are going, McKenna said: “We know we’ve done some amazing work at the football club over the last couple of years and we’ve had a really consistent group that have come up through two divisions and we have to carry on the best elements of what we’ve done over the last couple of years.

“We also know we need to improve in every department and recruitment is one of those and the club’s working really hard to add to the squad to give the group of players who have been with us more help and we’re going to need that.

“It’s been a busy summer, it continues to be a busy summer, we’re going to have to work really hard and the club is working very hard in every department and it’s going to be about building on the foundations that we’ve laid in place over the last couple of years, but we’re know we’re going to have to go to a different level in all departments.”

Regarding the work that’s currently ongoing at the club, Ashton continued: “The recruitment’s just part of it, both on and off the pitch. There’s an incredible amount of work to do to get the stadium ready, the training ground ready, the upgrades ready for the Premier League.

“And then on the pitch it’s a busy summer ahead. Kieran and I are working together tirelessly on player recruitment and making sure we can be the best version of ourselves. It’s incredibly busy and the challenge is that we have to be ready.”

Asked about the financial value of promotion, Ashton said: “You’re talking into the hundreds of millions, the revenues increase substantially, but so do the costs.

“I think equally importantly, the economic impact that promotion to the Premier League has on the town and the county, I think is really important.

“We’ve been away 22 years and this is a big footballing town, it’s a big footballing county, there’s huge tradition and history at this football club and I think we’re very proud to be back in the Premier League and we want to be the best versions of ourselves competing in there.”

McKenna says he can’t wait to get started working with the players: “We’ll have a good pre-season, for sure. We have to use any advantages that we get. The Championship season finishes a little bit earlier so we have a couple of weeks head start in our recovery, so we’ll be back in before most of the Premier League teams.

“Of course, we’ll have the majority of the group from last season together early, we’ll try and get as much of our recruitment done early as we possibly can to have a really good pre-season.

“We have to make the most of the seven weeks that we will have training together and know that other clubs have more players at international tournaments, more players throughout the world over the summer and we’ll try and utilise that as best we can.

“It’s going to be a really important pre-season, the fixture list gives you real clarity on what the challenge is in the first couple of games and things that we’re really going to have to emphasise in pre-season.

“We just can’t wait to get stuck into that work now, the players will be back soon, they’re already working hard and we’ll prepare as well as any team possibly can.”

The latest betting odds from Bet Victor have Ipswich Town at 4/5 for the drop, 100/1 to finish top four and 1500/1 to win the league.

Photo: TWTD

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kiwiblue added 09:59 - Jun 18
order a large box of adult diapers for mid August delivery please

Bluepool added 10:18 - Jun 18
Wow, reality has just kicked in for sure, but just can not wait for the season to start now, this is what Suffolk has needed for a long time, Ipswich fans will once again play their part and I have absolute belief that our players will give us a third consecutive season to be proud of. We may not be the whipping boys the media and other teams supporters think we'll be, I have complete faith in our management team and players to provide the premier league with a few shocks throughout the season, COYB

Bazza8564 added 10:25 - Jun 18
I quite like the fact we've got these two big games early doors, before anyone has really hit their rhythm.
These two fixtures are ones you wouldnt expect to get anything from, the fact they come early might just help level things up a bit

Mariner1974 added 10:43 - Jun 18
Yeh it's a great start...the players are gonna be raring to go. Amazing that we have Super Kieran Mckenna here still to guide the IpShip into Premiership Waters. He's a cracker of a first signing!

Europablue added 11:12 - Jun 18
The season will start just at the right time. I'm focused on the Euros for now. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before the start of the season, so I'm happy they have the time to do it.

mathiemagic added 14:28 - Jun 18
As we have to play them then best do it before they get into any kind of form. Liverpool have their new manager so will be out to impress there is no doubt but I also doubt that they would have wanted to play us away from home as the first game, right banana skin if ever there was one.

leftie1972 added 15:33 - Jun 18
Dear God, please help us, Amen.

Robert_Garrett added 17:00 - Jun 18
I think the bragging rights are there to be seen? The yellow bird is chirping a whole diviusion below us no matter what happens next season. been waiting a ,long while for that to happen. Dont care what happens so long as we beat the bottom three teams.

Linkboy13 added 18:43 - Jun 18
Be prepared for special K to work his magic again

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 19:21 - Jun 18
I'm happy we get City away out of the way early. Honestly, the result doesn't matter. They've fudged the system so much and haven't answered for any of their FFP charges. The deck is heavily stacked in their favor. If we get a point, great. But I take the game for what it is. An underdog versus a cheat.

If we can compete with the likes of Wolves, Bournemouth, Forest, Palace, Brentford, Brighton, Leicester and Southampton, and I believe we can, then we should be fine.

ArnieM added 22:47 - Jun 18
Out of interest re Man City. I’m aware there’s charges against them atm but I haven’t a clue as to the details. If they have “cheated”, then why haven’t they been held to account when so many other clubs have? What, exactly has Man City done wrong, anyone know please? Thanks …

FromIpswichToPhoenix added 23:17 - Jun 20
They are facing a number of charges.

• 54x Failure to provide accurate financial information 2009-10 to 2017-18.

• 14x Failure to provide accurate details for player and manager payments from 2009-10 to 2017-18.

• 5x Failure to comply with Uefa's rules including Financial Fair Play (FFP) 2013-14 to 2017-18.

• 7x Breaching Premier League's PSR rules 2015-16 to 2017-18.

• 35x Failure to co-operate with Premier League investigations December 2018 - Feb 2023.

In total, City have been charged with 115 breaches of Premier League regulations.

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