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Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher outlines how many signings Kieran McKenna needs for Premier League campaign





Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher stated the Blues need to make five or six signings this summer, but believes Kieran McKenna’s side’s ‘character and spirit’ will take them a long way in the Premier League next season.

Town will get their first top-flight campaign in 22 years underway in August after clinching back-to-back promotions, and fans will hope to see some additions to the squad before the first ball is kicked at Portman Road.

The transfer window opened on June 14 and, although the Blues have already welcomed 17-year-old defender Leon Elliott through the door, questions will be asked about how many additions McKenna needs to make to his first-team squad before August 30.

Terry Butcher believes Ipswich Town should make five or six signings this summer: Mecha Morton
Terry Butcher believes Ipswich Town should make five or six signings this summer: Mecha Morton

Butcher, who made more than 300 appearances for Town, feels it is right to give the players who won promotion an opportunity to play in the Premier League and stated it is important ‘not to flood’ the squad with incomings.

“The recruitment section of the club has to be right. I don’t think Ipswich will spend a lot of money, I don’t think they’re going to go mad as financial fair play comes into it,” said the ex-Blues defender, speaking to SuffolkNews on behalf of Free Bets.

“As long as it’s not as many signings as Nottingham Forest had the other year, that was ridiculous.

Terry Butcher would love to see Omari Hutchinson back at Portman Road. Picture: Mecha Morton
Terry Butcher would love to see Omari Hutchinson back at Portman Road. Picture: Mecha Morton

“They will be astute in what they do, they’ll buy for the future as well as for next season in the Premier League.

“Up front, I think they need a recognised striker that’s going to score. (George) Hirst has done ever so well, Kieffer Moore was really good for Ipswich, so you need someone of that experience and strength as well up front.

“A creator in midfield, possibly? I’m not too sure, I think (Sam) Morsy and (Massimo) Luongo have done very well in there. Possibly on the left side of midfield, you probably need someone there. A right-footer possibly coming inside, allowing (Leif) Davis to go on the outside? I think that would be really nice.

“Obviously (Wes) Burns is out on the right, (Kayden) Jackson’s gone, you need somebody out there as a cover for Burns really. And probably in the right-back area, you need somebody there.

Terry Butcher made more than 300 appearances for Ipswich Town. Picture: Mecha Morton
Terry Butcher made more than 300 appearances for Ipswich Town. Picture: Mecha Morton

“I’m looking at centre-halves, another one. You’re probably looking at five or six players. I wouldn’t want to go much more than that. I like the ‘keeper situation, that’s good as well.

“You don’t know what Kieran’s thinking, you don’t know what the recruitment team are saying as well, but they’ve got it right in the last two years, they’ve done ever so well.

“I think the players realise that in the Premier League, which is unforgiving, you need players that are going to make a difference. Getting players in that have been there before with experience or have the potential, like Omari Hutchinson or someone like that, who can win games on his own – that’s exciting.

Terry Butcher believes Ipswich Town need to sign a ‘recognised striker’. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Terry Butcher believes Ipswich Town need to sign a ‘recognised striker’. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“If Omari signed for us again, that would be absolutely incredible because he’s such a talent, he really is.”

The 65-year-old, who also spoke to SuffolkNews about England’s chances at the Euros this summer, was quick to hail McKenna’s style of football, praising how it is ‘not robotic’, but ‘instinctive’. He also commended how well the 38-year-old Northern Irishman had developed his squad at Portman Road.

“When you get a team that gets successive promotions, and goes up to a level that is quite substantially higher than the previous one, then you start to think ‘well players could get found out’,” said Butcher.

“But I think what cements the group is the character and the spirit in the camp as well. A lot of these players played in League One two, three years ago, but now they’re going to play in the Premier League.

“Kieran McKenna has done ever so well, because he's made all the players that he’s brought in better players. And he’ll still continue to make them better, so they are improving and it’s difficult to then say ‘when does their limit stop?’.”

It was revealed on Tuesday that Town will kick-off their Premier League season with the visit of Liverpool (on August 17), for Arne Slot’s first game in charge of the Reds, followed by a trip to the champions, Manchester City.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s like when I was a kid in the Churchman's stand at Ipswich watching the likes of Charlton, Law and Best coming to the ground,” said Butcher.

“It’s the glory days, you have to pinch yourself to say ‘we are really here’.

“We all waited since the last day of the season to see who we were going to play (first), and there’s no Norwich in there as well which is brilliant. It’s just really nice.

“It’s exciting isn’t it? You never thought you’d be in this position three years ago, never in a million years ago. Well, we are where we are and everything’s a bonus from now on. It’s just incredible.

“You’re rubbing your hands thinking ‘can we beat them? Can we do well against them?’.”