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Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna reflects on pre-season after victory against Southend United



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Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says pre-season has been one of 'good lessons' ahead of the opening game of the season against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Goals from new additions Tyreece John-Jules, Greg Leigh and Freddie Ladapo saw the Blues round off pre-season with a 3-1 victory at home to Southend United.

Arsenal loanee John-Jules made it 1-0 after seven minutes through a superb volley at the front post which could not be stopped by the visitors goalkeeper.

Greg Leigh then found himself at the end of a quick counter-attack midway through the second half, before Freddie Ladapo finished proceedings with a delicate header from a Wes Burns cross.

The visitors, now of the National League, did claw one back to make it 2-1, but Town were comfortable throughout, much to the delight of Kieran McKenna.

"I thought the first half was a really good level," said the Town boss.

Freddie Ladapo, in action against West Ham, scored his first goal at Portman Road against Southend United. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Freddie Ladapo, in action against West Ham, scored his first goal at Portman Road against Southend United. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"I thought we played some lovely stuff, thought we scored a lovely goal and probably could have scored some more. Second half, no doubt about it, I thought we took our eye off the ball and lowered our standards.

"That's a really good lesson to finish off pre-season with. It has been a pre-season of good lessons and we set the programme out like that. There was a really key one there at the end that we can't ever get ahead of ourselves.

"We need to stay humble, stay focused - that will be what decides the course of the season."

Kieran McKenna says he has been pleased with pre-season. Picture: Mecha Morton
Kieran McKenna says he has been pleased with pre-season. Picture: Mecha Morton

Town have enjoyed a pre-season programme designed to test players in a number of different scenarios.

While games against Needham Market, AFC Wimbledon and Southend have yielded victories, McKenna was also keen to see how players would react in difficult moments when going behind, highlighted in games against West Ham and Crystal Palace.

He added: "I couldn't be happier with the programme we've had to be honest. We've had a mixture of games against the best teams in the country where we went behind in the games.

"It is not that often in the league - hopefully - we go behind, so we wanted some experience of that and being in those difficult moments and how we would react in general and we have been happy with that.

"We've had a really good mixture of fixtures, a good games programme, good minutes into everyone's legs and I think we are ready."