Ipswich Town fan Joey Sadler praises quality of new signings ahead of season opener against fellow League One promotion contender Bolton Wanderers
Buckle up and strap yourselves in as we’re back for yet another season and, as always, I cannot wait!
Ipswich Town have had a reasonably successful pre-season, with lots of minutes both against lower and higher levels of opposition with new and old faces staking a claim as to why they should have a big part to play this campaign.
You always have to take pre-season with a pinch of salt, but I’ve been impressed with the style of football we’re clearly still trying to play, as well as our fitness levels. Isn’t it nice to see an Ipswich Town squad not completely depleted by injuries, with only one or two having picked up knocks, rather than the usual seven or eight. All-in-all, a decent enough pre-season has been had.
So what do we think of the summer business? Well this year was never going to replicate that of the complete squad overhaul of 12 months ago and as I thought we might, Town have gone down a different route, signing some obscure players and those who maybe aren’t household names.
You’d have to say Freddie Ladapo, Dominic Ball and Marcus Harness are faces we’ve probably seen or heard of before, which adds real strength to the squad, as well as experience in how to be successful in this division. If I had one criticism of McKenna’s Ipswich last year, it was our inability to finish off games or find the decisive goal against teams who came to Portman Road to steal a point.
I believe all three of those signings are just the answer for that, with Freddie’s goal threat, Dominic’s ability to grab hold of the midfield and Harness, who seems to have been a constant thorn in the Ipswich side whenever we came up against him.
The other three additions are – I’ll be honest – names I wasn’t too familiar with in Greg Leigh, Tyreece John-Jules and Leif Davis. And I think this showcases McKenna’s desire to get players in who he wants to work with and if there is any manager who can improve a player, it’s our boss.
Leigh brings experience in this league having had a decent campaign with Morecambe and from what I’ve seen so far, I’ve liked him. Davis is a player I can’t say I’ve seen an awful lot of, but my Elland Road correspondent (thanks @Leeds_Untied) and several AFC Bournemouth fans tell me we could have a real player if we can keep him fit – and again he’s a good age to develop.
But for me, the one I am most excited about is John-Jules. I knew nothing about Tyreece and if his Wikipedia is anything to go by, then you’d understand why some fans were a little bemused. But every minute I’ve seen the big man play in pre-season I have been very impressed.
'TJJ’ looks like he brings bags of class, skill and flair and he clearly knows where the back of the net is (his goal against Southend United showing that). So much has been made about Town needing to sign that one ‘marquee striker’ and although I feel we could do with one more body in that area, I have to say I’m more than comfortable with Ladapo, John-Jules and Kayden Jackson being up there and that our top end of the pitch, including the likes of Harness, Aluko, Chaplin, does look very strong.
So a big welcome to all the new signings and with the fact we’ve been able to keep the core of our squad from last year as well, I think we really should appreciate what’s been another successful transfer window.
As we know, Town will begin the campaign by welcoming Bolton Wanderers to Portman Road on Saturday and I think we’d all agree, this is one of the tougher games we’ll play this season. The Trotters finished ninth last year and did the double over us, which also included a 5-2 pumping at home! So I’m under no illusion that Ian Evatt and his side will travel down to Suffolk believing they could pick up some points.
Wanderers haven’t been as prominent in the transfer window but still have the core of a very good squad at this level and I for one think they will have equally as ambitious aspirations as the Tractor Boys this season.
All of this makes for a fascinating opening day at Portman Road and the chance for both teams to really put down a marker and kick-start their campaigns. We all know what happened last year, so let’s hope McKenna and his men can get off to a flying start and there’d be no better way to do it then beating a fellow promotion rival at a sunny Portman Road.
So fasten your seatbelt as I think we could all be in for an enthralling campaign!