Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna talks up 'base level' requirements heading into first game in charge against Wycombe Wanderers
New Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has outlined the 'base level' he expects to see from the players during his first game in charge tomorrow night.
Boxing Day's postponement of the trip to Gillingham has provided McKenna with a bit more time to get know the squad at his disposal than he otherwise would have had going into Wycombe Wanderers' visit to Portman Road on Wednesday evening (7.45pm).
And while he is well aware that it will take time to fully implement his playing style and a different tactical outlook to what has gone before, there are certain things that he is keen to see straight away.
"The base line for me, and I've spoken to the players very clearly on this, will be our intensity, our running, our effort, our collective spirit to be aggressive against the ball, to press in the right moments, to win challenges and duels and have a real intensity about us. That will be the base level of expectation," said McKenna, who has spent the last few days getting to know his new surroundings with trips into the town centre, as well as the coastal town of Aldeburgh.
"Obviously we know with Wycombe it's a tough game. They themselves are very aggressive, very direct, very good on second balls. They don't give you a lot of chances to regain the ball high up the pitch because they play over the press a lot.
"We know the challenges what the game is going to bring, but we want that base level of effort, running and aggression – all the simple fundamental things that make up a football team.
"On top of that we want to get the ball down, we want to express ourselves, we want good movement and penetration going forward and try to create some chances, score goals and hopefully excite the supporters."
In terms of team selection, McKenna confirmed that Kyle Edwards, Rekeem Harper and Toto Nsiala are back in training after a period in isolation with Covid-19, but the trio will not be ready to feature against Wycombe.
Bersant Celina is also close to a return after a combination of a hamstring injury and illness, while Jon Nolan and Hayden Coulson are both training again after lay-offs.
McKenna said: "We’ve had a couple of Covid cases over the last few weeks.
"The good thing is, we’ve managed to contain any potential outbreak and isolate the cases. Credit to the lucb on that because we have done well there.
"We have a couple of players that have recovered and one or two that are still recovering, but are doing well.
"The spirit in the group is good, and we have a group that is hungry to play and looking forward to tomorrow’s match."
Meanwhile, McKenna has also confirmed a new appointment to his coaching set-up at the club.