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Why Ipswich could thrive in the next couple of years
at 22:08 8 Apr 2021

Delighted to see the takeover finally completed and renewed optimism around the club. Personally, i think the timing of the deal also hugely in our favour and could present a real opportunity for the club to see some real success in the next few years.
The reason i say this, is that post pandemic mess football currently finds itself in may work in our favour with player & agent power diminished, the transfer market hugely deflated (and likely to be for years to come) and clubs less able to provide the long term deals and security that players previously expected. With over 30 players out of contract in the summer, market conditions and our new found financial firepower as a club, this could present the perfect opportunity for the club to bring in some real talent that we can develop over the next few years alongside some desperately needed seasoned pros. Let's not beat around the bush, the club MUST cull the squad mercilessly and aim to change the current dressing room culture.
To avoid a Luca Civelli, Veliče Šumulikoski, Tamas Priskin, Paul Taylor, Grant Leadbitter etc scenario happening again, i think the club would do well to allocate some of the resources saved through player releases on several UK and European scouts. Alongside this, a technical director, director of football, academy manager and a CEO with industry experience would all be astute additions to the backroom staff, as ITFC under Marcus Evans and the likes of Clegg, Milne, Symonds et al all had their pants pulled down in the murky world of football and by agents. To put it simply, the market conditions are there for us to bring in some fantastic talent to our club and we won't find ourselves in situations like we did with David Norris and Plymouth, but we must get the backroom staffing sorted before we look to invest. I really hope the club cut no corners this time.
[Post edited 8 Apr 2021 22:15]
Playing out from the back / playing style
at 10:56 30 Aug 2020

While i'm a big fan of playing out from the back, i really don't think it suits the style of play required in this league nor the personnel we have at our disposal. Essentially, it relies on the 2 centre backs taking the ball on the edge of the penalty area and trying to either play it to the CDM (4) or fullback each time. The only player who can do this regularly is Luke Woolfenden with our 3 other CB's not particularly comfortable with the ball at their feet. In the hustle and bustle of League One, i can see defensive mistakes costing us, just like they have done in our preseason games.

The same can be said for our approach play. From the games that I've watched, we continue to look pretty but ineffective - moving the ball from side to side without any real tempo. Again, i really don't think this suits the players we have at our disposal. Looking through the squad we'd be much better playing counter attacking, high tempo football with players like KVY, Jackson, Bishop and Sears all being good ball carriers.

Unfortunately i can see us abandoning this style of play early into the season as it simply doesn't work at this level. Swansea are probably the only team in recent history to have successfully played this way in the lower leagues. Not sure PL has learnt anything from his mistakes which is disheartening.
[Post edited 30 Aug 2020 10:58]
PL tactically inept
at 20:22 4 Jan 2020

We were throwing more and more men forward in the last 5 minutes of the game, leaving the car crash of Toto Nsiala too exposed at the back. Thus, we lost.
Thought the line up was good, subs spot on apart from not utilising Dobra perhaps. But it's rather embarrassing and concerning to not dominate an Exeter reserve side. If I'm honest, Bishop, Keane, El Mizouni and Kenlock were the only players who looked like they wanted to be on the pitch...which was deadly silent in terms of voices and communication!!! There is some good quality in this squad, however I wonder if players and management alike are too comfortable and self entitled at Ipswich. They would have got dogs abuse if we had more demanding fans like Forest, Leeds etc have. The players didn't look hurt going off the pitch which is worrying!
[Post edited 4 Jan 2020 21:06]
No balance - but we can still do it
at 21:49 26 Dec 2019

I'm starting to think that our issues are stem from a lack of balance in the side. The midfield 4 of Judge, Nolan, Skuse and Edwards was all wrong today. Judge offered no width or drive out wide and his legs are gone. He simply can't play there again, as we looked disjointed, partly because drops back almost as a sweeper in search of the ball. Positionally, that is selfish play. He should only be used as a 10 or impact sub.

In the centre, Skuse and Nolan were lethargic, second to everything and generally poor. I'm starting to think that unless in a 3, Skuse probably doesn't have the energy to cover enough ground as a ball winning midfielder anymore. With Nolan, it's more a question of ability. He lacks vision, drive, rarely wins aerial battles/second balls, has a tendency of dropping too deep to collect the ball, and when alongside Skuse, totally starves the front 2. He doesn't have the ability to take us where want to be this season and it baffles me how he remains in the side, especially with Downes on the bench today. As he offers no physicality, Dozzell must be fast tracked ahead of him, as he's someone we can work on and develop.

I still think we can go up this season. The positives going forward are :
1. We have 4 top strikers at this level when fit and firing.
2. Our defence is generally very tight
3. We have excellent options in the middle of the park.
4. We have good players to return from injury.

However, the following is killing us at the moment
1. Far too many players are out of form
2. Some players need to pull their finger out and contribute more e.g Keane, Huws - given their pedigree, they should feel embarrassed by their lack of contributions in this league.
3. The loss of Rowe and KVY has left us unbalanced and disjointed
4. We lack quality in wide areas
5. PL seems unsure of himself at the moment - the press conference being a prime example

To get out of this rut we need to do the following

1. Get a left winger to restore balance to the side if we go 442.
2. RB/RWB on loan until KYV is fit
3. Midfield trio of Downes - Skuse - Huws...with Bishop and Dozzell alternating
4. A 4-5-1 diamond with Sears - Norwood - Jackson will offer us more width and penetration
5. 2 favoured formations are fine, just find a suitable 11 for each.
6. Hang in the mix up, while players are signed, return to fitness and rediscover form/confidence (hopefully)

[Post edited 26 Dec 2019 21:53]
January Changes
at 12:24 19 Dec 2019

Firstly and foremost, the first change PL will need to make going forward is the squad rotation policy. He needs to identify his strongest 11 and preferred style of play/formation and stick with it. While this might upset those on the periphery, I think short term loans should be found for the likes of Huws and maybe even Judge, who probably need 6-7 back to back games.

Going up this season is an absolute must if we wish to see Woolfenden, Downes et al in the a blue shirt again next season. I'm also unsure of ME's staying power if we miss out on the extra 9.2m in television money earned through being the Championship.

Personally, I think we still have the elements of a fantastic squad at this level, but a few tweaks are needed to allow PL to play his preferred 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 systems / address the question marks we still have in certain positions of the pitch.

Out : Nsiala, Roberts, Białkowski, Georgiou
Out on loan : Morris, Folami, Mizouni, Cotter (all preferably to league 1 or 2 sides)
1 or 2 Month Loan : Huws, Judge, Bishop potentially....all of the following need about 4-5 games back to back, so they can contribute during the important run in.

In : Tommy Smith (CB), Left Winger, RB/RWB

I think 3 quality additions in positions that are still question marks will do the trick, especially with the quality of players we have returning. Too much chopping and changing could be dangerous for the dynamic of the team at this stage in time.
[Post edited 19 Dec 2019 12:26]
Few changes needed in January
at 10:55 27 Nov 2019

After last night, i think it's important not to lose sight that we're unbeaten in 7 and are clearly tough to break down and beat. That's something we didn't have last year and the character of the team has certainly improved.

That said, we're missing a few things in our squad. In midfield i think we lack a bit of 'cut and thrust'. Nolan, Huws and Dozzell are all pretty, tidy players who keep it neat, however we are missing a player who can play on the half turn and drive at defenses. If Bishop can get himself fit by January, i think Downes, Skuse, Bishop probably has the best balance.

In wide areas we are lacking in quality. Edwards has been out of form, Rowe inconsistent, Georgiou one dimensional and Judge more of a number 10. I wouldn't mind a bit of movement out and in here over January, as it's our weakest area. Right back might also be an issue with KVY out.

Providing Sears and Bishop return, i think we'd do well to bring in another wide player and perhaps a good quality loanee at RB. If we can sell, then maybe 2 wide players.
[Post edited 27 Nov 2019 10:55]
Bishop and Sears
at 18:49 2 Nov 2019

With Sears back on the grass and Bishop due back in a couple of weeks, both could make a huge difference during the busy December/January fixture schedule. Whereabouts do you think both will fit in? Personally, I see both as a step up to have we already have: Sears > Jackson and Bishop > Nolan. To have such a plethora of young talent in the middle of the park will serve us well next year, if we step back up into the championship and use the momentum to be competitive.
Hopefully it will also provide the scope to send the likes of El Mizouni, Dozzell and maybe even Dobra out to other league one sides.
[Post edited 2 Nov 2019 18:53]
KVY - Great signing !
at 14:11 19 Aug 2019

It's great to see that we've finally spent a decent amount of money on a natural right back. Part of the reason we look at little disjointed has been down to the lack of quality that Donacien and Kenlock have offered going forward, so it's great to see this addressed in probably our weakest position. With Nolan and Edwards now back in the mix and Garbutt not a million miles away, i think a target man is now probably all we need. For my mind Leon Clarke or Murphy would be great partners for Norwood, who has had to drop too deep in recent games.
Plenty of positives today / look forward to
at 21:14 17 Aug 2019

- Unbeaten against 3 fellow promotion candidates
- New RB coming in to strengthen a real weak spot in the squad, plus further signings likely.
- Great to see Norwood off the mark
- That will feel like a win for us and a loss for Peterborough given the timing if our equaliser today
- Nolan and Edwards back into the fold
- Huws and Judge have managed to get good game time over the past week or so and will be big players for us this year once match fit.

I think 9 points over the next 3 games is an absolute must with momentum going into September.
[Post edited 17 Aug 2019 21:16]
4-4-2 - Downes and Skuse
at 14:08 12 Aug 2019

At the start of the season i was delighted to see Jackson and Norwood given a go in a 4-4-2. I thought it was a positive move that rewarded both for their excellent form in pre season. However, after watching the game on Saturday i'm not too sure 4-4-2 is the best formation for us with Downes and Skuse in the middle. We huffed and puffed but didn't look incisive enough to provide our front 2 with the kind of service they need.

Downes and Skuse by trade are central defensive midfielders, with Flynn being the more expansive and forward thinking of the 2. While both have been outstanding so far this season, i do think we need someone with the quality of Huws or Dozzell to provide Norwood/Jackson with a better level of service, especially when we are at home.

It would be a real tough call, but if we do persist with the 4-4-2, i'd personally prefer Huws to Skuse in the middle, as he is a cut above and will provide more forward impetus to the team. That, or we go Norwood up top with Judge or Huws in the more advanced role (or play both in a three with Downes).

We have a plethora of midfielders who are arguably too good for this division, i think there will be some tough calls ahead for Lambert.
[Post edited 12 Aug 2019 14:10]
Good start!
at 09:33 11 Aug 2019

Dissapointing that we couldn't capitalise on a good first half performance yesterday, however if we had been offered 4 points from our opening 2 fixtures at the start of the season I think we'd have taken it. Peterborough aside, the remaining fixtures this month all look very winnable.

But to be in control and play good attacking, front foot football against 2 fellow promotion candidates suggests we will do well this season.

Let's give Judge and Chambers a bit of slack. Chambo will learn from that and it will take time for Judge to get up to speed.

But encouraging to see Judge, Huws and Dozzell in the squad with Edwards and Nolan closing in on a return. Need a target man though to give us a different dimension upfront.
[Post edited 11 Aug 2019 9:34]
Lambert's comments about a lack of respect - spot on !
at 14:02 9 Aug 2019

I think Lambert was absolutely spot on today with his comments.

Be it state of the stadium, lack of a community trust in previous seasons or the discord between managers, owners and supporters, the following have all contributed to a loss of pride and sense of disenfranchisement between ITFC and it's fans. What he states about high standards is also correct, it should filter down from the top and be evident throughout the club, not just on the pitch. While this neglect hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of the hardcore few and regular away supporters, i think what PL is saying about instilling a bit more pride in the club, playing good front foot football and recapturing the imagination of the town again is essential, as we should be striving to get crowds back up to the 25,000 mark again like they were under Royle and Magilton.

People can raise the argument about being outside of the Premiership for so long, which is partly true, but i think Paul Lambert has shook up the club and Marcus Evans for the better and it's refreshing to have a manager who is so in touch with the value of it's fans.
[Post edited 9 Aug 2019 14:26]
Evan's statement
at 14:20 7 Aug 2019

Been fairly critical of Marcus recently regarding how/how much we sold key players for last season.

However, if he stays true to his statement, i think Paul Lambert has everything at his disposal to succeed this year. With those who are returning, realistically we are just a 1st choice RB and a striker short of squad that is capable of achieving promotion. With that said, regardless of how much Harrison wanted a move, i do question the logic of selling him given that we will have probably have to spend more to get in a similar quality of player than what we owed Rovers. Murphy would be my recommendation on a 1 year deal.

If this squad is going to be treated as a project, then hanging on to our key players will be essential. We shouldn't sell in League One as we're not going to get anywhere close to market value for our prized assets. Therefore, promotion at the first attempt is key, so getting those 2-3 players in, making a strong start and augmenting that in January with reinforcements will be key. PL should be judged with what he has at his disposal and being honestly truthful, he has an outstanding squad with the likes of Judge, Huws, Norwood, Bishop, Nolan, Downes, Skuse, Edwards who would walk into most lower end of the table Championship sides.

I really hope Marcus will follow through with his promise to spruce up PR, as it is a stadium with bags of character that just needs a bit of TLC.
[Post edited 7 Aug 2019 14:24]
Selling Dozzell would be madness !
at 11:34 3 Aug 2019

I really hope that Dozzell hasn't travelled for injury reasons.

Don't think we've seen the best of him and a good season in league one and subsequent season in the Championship will see his current value (3m-3.5m) quadruple ! I also think that this could be the year where he really starts to boss that midfield, hopefully playing in a deeper role.

Dip into your own pocket ME for those 3 transfers and only cash out on Dozzell when his value peaks. Please show a bit of business acumen here.
Webster 20m
at 13:17 1 Aug 2019

It's incredibly frustrating to see a club like Bristol City cash potentially 25m for Adam Webster. In terms of our size, backing, infrastructure we are a bigger club than City, but are a real soft touch when any sizeable bid being tabled for any of our players. Fair play to City though for saying early on in the summer that they want 30m.

Whereas the Webster deal we negotiated and more so the Tommy Smith deal to Colorado Rapids underline a real naivety and lack of business acumen...letting a seasoned Championship CB with nearly 300 games under his belt go essentially on a gap year for free because it was a 'great opportunity for the lad'. The championship is one of the biggest leagues in the world commercially.

Same with Mings, probably a case of holding on to him for another season and slapping another 5m on his price tag at the end of the season rather than being lulled in by 1 good loanee and an average striker.

I think Lambert is a more straight shooter when it comes to playing hard ball in terms of negotiations, and it's pleasing to see us show more resolve with Judge and Dozzell.
Lambert's missed a trick
at 13:00 1 Aug 2019

Personally, i would've liked to have seen Lambert sign a good right.

I'd be quite happy with Chamo, Nsiala, Woolfenden and Donancien as a 4th choice CB/cover at RB.

However, with big question marks over Emmanuel and Donacien, i think we could've shuffled Janoi across and brought in a good right back. The diamond system that PL likes to play relies heavily on good quality full backs who can get up and down the line and offer quality in the opposition half. I'm not too sure Donacien has that in his locker. His strength lies in his versatility and defensive capabilities.

I'm delighted with Norwood, Garbutt, Holy and Norris is a great keeper, but i'd have been happy promoting Wright, shuffling Donancien across as a 4th CB and investing good funds in a quality RB which has been a problem area going all the way back to David Wright's departure.
[Post edited 1 Aug 2019 13:02]
Norris - excellent signing, strange logic
at 11:56 29 Jul 2019

Will Norris will be another excellent signing. Modern keeper in the fact that he is comfortable with the ball at his feet (which suits PL's wish to play out from the back), athletic and a good shot stopper. Not too sure who will start, as i can't see Norris being happy to come out on loan to be sat on the bench. Good to have some genuine quality between the sticks.

However, you do have to question the use of funds and logic. With only 2 genuine strikers and 2 experienced centre backs, i personally would've preferred to either go with Przybek/Wright or sign a veteran number 2 on a free and spend the money elsewhere.

I can't help thinking that Elliot will offer any serious competition to the likes of Jackson, Norwood or Sears and thus our need for another quality striker remains, as does our need for a 3rd CB and a RB. Garbutt, Norwood, Holy and Norris are all high quality signings at this level, but we can't afford to spend cheap on the areas of our squad that will actually take us to the next level.
[Post edited 29 Jul 2019 11:59]
at 22:17 28 Jul 2019

Not scored more than 9 goals a season during his time in the football league. With him approaching 29, you have to seriously question this, especially with Harrison leaving.

Let's not mess around. Go get Murphy for a year and manage him well as back up to Norwood. This won't hamper the development of Jackson either who looks to have several more gears. Will Keane on a pay as you play deal would be nice too, or a 1 year deal providing we could offload Bart.
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