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Recruiting Like a Play-off Team
at 10:10 23 May 2023

With all the chat about Summer recruitment, I thought I'd look into how the 4 play-off teams from this season went about putting together their 10 key players (by minutes played). Think this is a good measure for us, none of the four have been in the Premier League for a while, so no parachute payments. Three of the four had been in League One relatively recently too.

The poorest/smallest of the 4 clubs, Luton's recruitment pool does and doesn't reflect that.
1 loan (from Nottingham Forest)
1 player signed before they were promoted to the Championship
3 free transfers (1 fringe player at another Championship team, 1 regular in a relegated Championship team, 1 regular in a mid-table League 1 team)
but quite a lot of fees paid - 5 (3 small fees, 2 for fringe players at Championship clubs, 1 for a regular at a League 2 club, then 2 larger fees for a regular at a relegated Championship club, the other to a mid-sized SPL team)

Luton's recruitment pool is, if anything, generally from similar places to our League One recruitment (at times, a bit lower status than ours in truth).

The richest of the four, much more stable in the Championship, so their key players often involved significant fees, their loans come from higher status clubs, their key players were accumulated over a longer period of time.
2 loans (Wolves and Man City)
2 frees (regulars from other Championship clubs whose contracts had expired)
2 academy products
4 fees paid (all relatively big, for overseas players from the MLS and the Greek SL, for regulars at other Championship teams)
The only one of the four that really bought players that were already excelling at this level.

Coventry's recruitment resembles Luton's, given similar resources. Although they seem to have looked up when Luton looked down more often.
2 loans (Manchester City and Nottingham Forest)
3 players signed pre-Championship
1 free (a fringe player at another Championship team)
1 academy product
3 fees paid (1 modest, for a released Big 6 academy graduate, 2 big fees, to a small Eredivisie club and the other for a player discarded by a mid-level Premier League team).
So, like us, more interested in discarded players from the level above.

Sunderland is short and sweet, because almost all their key players were mainstays in League One.
6 players signed pre-Championship
1 loan (from Manchester United)
2 academy products
1 big fee paid (to make a loan from Tottenham permanent)
Gives us reason to be relatively confident some of our players can step up.

So, the lesson is either (a) sign lower league players, players discarded by other Championship teams and players leaving relegated sides (b) pay lots of big fees to build up a good squad over multiple seasons (c) Pay a few fees for overseas players or players discarded by Premier League team (d) don't sign anyone, trust the players you have

[Post edited 23 May 2023 11:23]
Realistic Loan Shouts
at 17:38 16 May 2023

We've had a few silly ones, but the guys first and fourth on this list are probably our likeliest enquiries, I would have thought?
at 10:34 19 Apr 2023

Broadhead's winner was the latest we've ever won a game under McKenna and the first time we've taken all three points after the clock turned 80.00.

Previous latest was Wes Burns' winner against Portsmouth (79.55).

Hopefully, we're learning how to turn the screw late in games better now!
Up For Grabs Now!
at 16:21 26 Mar 2023

Plymouth have only 8 left, the easiest fixtures, the most points on the board, the great home record, but are the worst of the four contenders post-January.

Sheffield Wednesday have 9 left, still have the best points per game, the best away record, the best defensive record, and a big squad with a lot of experienced campaigners.

Barnsley have 10 left, also very easy opponents for most of their run-in, are absolutely motoring, but have the fewest total points on the board and basically depend on scoring from every other shot they take.

We have 9 left, the hardest fixtures by a long shot, but look like January strengthened us dramatically (a lot more than it did our rivals).

Anybody's game, isn't it?

[Post edited 27 Mar 2023 10:57]
Why is there no interest in our defence?
at 08:57 5 Jan 2023

We've not had a single 0-0. We've failed to score in only 2 games this season. But we've kept just 9 clean sheets in 25 games so far this season, far fewer than the 12 in 23 games we kept last season.

If we'd kept a clean sheets in games where the opposition set up in a low block and barely had the ball in our half, we'd have beaten Lincoln, Portsmouth and Cheltenham.

Yet all the discussion is about new forwards and needing more goals?
at 08:36 2 Sep 2022

Monthly what do we need/what will we get thread, for our September fixtures, which are as follows:

Accrington (A)
Cambridge United (H)
Bristol Rovers (H)
Sheffield Wednesday (A)
Plymouth (A)

Trickier month than August with 2 of the hardest games of the season and another away trip we tend to struggle with.

Now we're up here, we need to keep above 2 points per game overall, which works out at 8 points from the 5, so that's the minimum for me.

Predictions - I think we'll win one, draw one of the big away games, beat Accy, but somehow stuff up one of the easier two home games. 10 points.
at 09:57 1 Aug 2022

Usual monthly what will get/what do we need thread. Month of August, 5 league games:
Forest Green (A)
MK Dons (H)
Burton (A)
Shrewsbury (A)
Barnsley (H)

Minimum: Important early season to keep above 1.5 points per game as a minimum - so that's 8 points from these fixtures.

Prediction: Reckon we'll stuff up an away game and a draw one, win one of the tricky home games. 10 points.
[Post edited 1 Aug 2022 10:33]
Leif done?
at 17:32 25 Jul 2022

Leeds paper reckons it's happening
16,500 Season Tickets
at 12:12 22 Jul 2022

Club says we've sold

Even if we don't sell a single matchday ticket, we'll have a higher average attendance than 2017-18.

That's off the back of our joint lowest league finish in 7 decades. Amazing.
LWB - we need a crosser not a dribbler
at 14:53 18 May 2022

After the recent Kyle Edwards thread I was pondering the left wing back role and was thinking about the defensive shape problem.

I think it's clear from the way we set up with Thompson that McKenna does not think our defensive shape works if both wing backs play as high as Burns does. That we need a LWB who is ready to drop back into that LB slot if we got caught with Burns up the field. In possession we were also using Thompson as a deeper out ball (he averaged twice as many passes per game as Wes).

So is the solution to the LWB position going to be a player who creates chances in a different way to Burns? Rather than having a player who starts high up the pitch and looks to run in behind we should be looking for one whose best creative work is done from deeper. Burns' pace pushes teams back and resulted in Thompson having a lot of opportunities to put crosses in 20-30 yards from the byline. So what we lack is someone who puts in the kind of crosses that punish teams for defending too deep (Conor Grant and Luke Garbutt come to mind). We need a left wing back who can switch play to Wes and who sends in good crosses (and set pieces!) when the opposition is set in their defensive shape.

What do we reckon?
at 17:24 23 Apr 2022

We'd won every game this month we'd be ... 7th.
Be Arrogant Celina!
at 16:45 23 Apr 2022

One thing I'd try and do over the Summer is persuade Celina that his main job is to drive at goal and hit it as often as possible.

At present he shoots half as often as Twine and Brannagan, despite striking the ball just as well. By contrasr, Morsy, whose shooting from distance isn't terribly threatening, works an angle and has a pop whenever he can. Wrong way round that.
What if we kept the same squad?
at 11:51 21 Apr 2022

If we lined up for 2022-23 with exactly the same squad, including loanees, with no new additions apart from returning loanees, where do you think we would finish after a McKenna pre-season and with a clean slate league table?

[Post edited 21 Apr 2022 11:51]
Lucky Lucky Lucky
at 10:44 21 Apr 2022

So, from the Gillingham Home Game I've been indulging in some childish superstition, where I wear/use a different Ipswich Town object for each game we play (ranging from replica shirts through scarfs, socks, a mug once).

Now, with our season dead I was trying to decide which object had proven to be the luckiest (the two remaining objects can't be lucky, because there's no fortune in winning a dead rubber).

Going down the list it's hard to pick out many games in which we were genuinely fortunate? We've won games we've deserved to win, we've drawn and lost games we've deserved to win, we've lost/drawn games we deserved to lose/draw. But points we've taken through a bit of good fortune? Thin on the ground for me.

The only exception I can think of is that first one, the Gillingham game, where they were better than us, missed chances and we scored with a half chance.

So, is the object I used for Gillingham the luckiest object? Or was there some other good fortune that I've missed?
10 up for Chaplin
at 22:04 19 Apr 2022

Good work lad!

Haven't had a non-loanee midfielder hit 10 goals in a season since David Norris and now we've had two in a season.
Slow and safe / Fast and risky
at 21:59 19 Apr 2022

Noticed a weird thing about our tempo tonight and it reminded me of the Oxford game.

When we're chasing a result our passing is often slow and risk averse. We pass from left to right, back to the left, back to the right, searching for a better opportunity to put a ball in (which usually never comes). We turn down crossing opportunities, we turn down shooting opportunities, we recycle the ball endlessly.

Then when we're winning, like tonight and Oxford, we're suddenly trying to get the ball forward quickly, trying ambitious flicks and early through balls, doing everything a million miles an hour, surrendering possession quickly.

Should it not be the other way round?!
45 minutes that sums us up at the moment
at 20:36 19 Apr 2022

Waste a lot of good positions, waste a lot more set pieces, let the opposition wind us up, give a cheap free kick, then concede from the resulting cheap corner.
Mildly concerning
at 17:40 16 Apr 2022

- Not great to go into the Summer on the back of this sort of run. Another 2 weeks of these results is going to dampen a fair bit of the enthusiasm for next year.

- Don't think you could claim a single one of our forwards is in good form right now, not the strikers, not the attacking midfielders. Let's hope it's temporary rather than systemic.

- Thought after Plymouth we'd boss all 6 of our remaining games, even if we didn't win them. Again, let's hope Cambridge and Rotherham getting on top of us was just circumstantial rather than about teams working us out.

On the bright side, Baggott did well.
7-day rotation?
at 14:23 9 Apr 2022

We've had a run of one-fixture weeks and named a different line-up in each one. Why do we reckon we're doing that? I thought the conventional wisdom was that 6 days was plenty of recovery time for most players.

Is it just tactics?
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