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Ipswich Town column: Reviewing the club’s January transfer business and why Saturday’s fixture against West Brom is important

Almost a week on from deadline day madness, I wanted to have a look at reviewing Town’s January business, before addressing where it all went wrong at Deepdale last weekend.

January was always going to be a huge month for Ipswich Town, with many making comparisons to the infamous 2014/2015 season, where Town failed to capitalise on a huge opportunity for promotion to the promised land.

Almost 10 years later and here we are again. Although this time, we’ve just got off the back of a four year stint in League One.

Suffolk News' Ipswich Town columnist Joey Sadler
Suffolk News' Ipswich Town columnist Joey Sadler

Look, nobody expected us to be here, but now we are, the objective has got to be to stay and I always believed if we recruited properly, we’d give ourselves a serious chance of doing so.

So let’s have a look at who came through the door and review the business done. What would you give the four signings out of 10? Well, here is my take...

First to arrive was Jeremy Sarmiento. The Brighton man joined the Blues off the back of a pretty underwhelming loan spell at The Hawthorns, so I think it’s fair to say at the time of his arrival, many weren’t sure exactly what player we were getting.

Now a month into his stint, I think we would all agree that ‘Jezza’ has impressed and I can only see him getting better under Kieran McKenna. It’s one of those ‘win win’ kind of deals, where whatever happens.

Town can’t really be stung by it and I’d say the early signs suggest we’ve got a real player in our ranks. I'll give it a 8/10.

Second to arrive was Lewis Travis, which you have to admit, was a strange one.

The Blackburn captain would not have been on any Town fans’ wish list before the window had opened and that's not me being negative, it's just that you'd never have thought a fellow Championship side would loan their captain out to another!

But when he came, and again, similar to Jeremy, he seemed to have slotted in nicely. Lewis brings passion, experience and know-how and I for one can't wait to see the day he and Samy Morsy start a game together. Who will get booked first?

But on the whole, I think it's a good one and more leaders in the camp can only be a good thing. 7/10.

Now we turn to the strikers. A position Town should've sorted out in the summer and after the injury to George Hirst, became a little bit of a crisis.

Ali Al-Hamadi was up first and I have to say, I'm really excited about this one. Why? You might ask. As after all, this is a striker who has only really 'done it in League Two' and that would be a fair thing to say.

But for me, I think the ceiling is high for this boy and once again, can only see him getting better and better under the brilliant Kieran McKenna.

We'll get onto the second striker who joined Ali in a moment, but I can really see Ali being able to learn from those around him and if he gets it right, it puts both himself and the club in a fantastic position, both on-and-off the pitch. An 8/10 for me.

So finally, the deadline day deal. Cometh the hour, cometh the 6,5 giant of a man. As big Kieffer Moore returned to Portman Road.

Honestly, can you imagine saying five years ago that Town would be pushing from the Premier League and brigning big Kieffer in to get them there? No, you couldn't.

But now he is here, I couldn't be happier and I genuinely do believe this signing makes or breaks it for Ipswich Town.

Kieffer has developed massively since his first stint at Portman Road back in 2017 and the player we saw then, is nothing like the one we see now.

Now a Championship and Premier League experienced player, Kieffer brings all of these attributes to the forward-line, as well as I think, being able to slot into our style and system nicely.

His debut showed just what we've been missing since George Hirst got injured and I'm very excited to see just how many Leif Davis crosses he can get on the end of.

A top striker, sought by many others means it's got to be a 9/10 for this one and well done to Mark Ashton and co for getting it over the line.

In my eyes, January was a very positive transfer window for Ipswich Town, but in a way, I'm glad it's over.

With the attention now solely focused back on the pitch. We're going through a little bit of a spell, aren't we? Which I think was signified by what happened at Deepdale last weekend.

Now look, officials will help and hinder you at times throughout a season, but there's no doubt in my mind that the first two Preston goals should never have stood. With the second clearly offside.

But that is football and the way Town performed in that first 45 was poor and they deserved to be behind.

Sadly, we gave ourselves too much to do in the second period and I genuinely believe if that game was ten minutes longer, we'd have scored again, but it wasn't and Kieran McKenna and his side had to endure back-to-back losses. Something that we haven't experienced for a while.

I wrote last week about how this group always responds well and although that may have not happened at Deepdale, I am sticking by it and fully expect us to put things right against West Bromwich Albion this Saturday.

New boys Ali Al-Hamadi and Kieffer Moore would've had time to learn the system and the group can settle, knowing there isn't any more coming or going to be done.

Yes, we've slipped to fourth and the parachute payment boys have overtaken us. But it's still been a remarkable season and guess what, it isn't over yet!

Of course, keeping up and competing with the talent now above us is going to be tough, but I believe in this group and certainly won't be writing anything yet, as with Kieran McKenna in charge, we have a chance.

This time last year we were staring down the barrel of another year in League One as we looked to have 'bottled it' then. Well we all know how that turned out.

The Championship is of course a different beast and is never easy, but this group has given us every reason to stick with them and a win on Saturday puts us right back on track.

So come on Ipswich, let's go again and continue to attack this league.