Ipswich Town midfielder Jack Taylor believes that the club are ready to tackle the Championship, but admits that the step-up will be a huge test for the entire squad.

The Blues are preparing to play their first second-tier match since 2019, travelling to Sunderland on Sunday afternoon for a 5pm kick-off. Given how the Black Cats performed last season, it’s expected to be a tough test for Town.

Taylor played Championship football with Peterborough United in 2021/22, scoring three goals in 34 games as they suffered an immediate relegation back to League One.

The experience certainly made him aware of how strong the teams are at that level, but he’s still confident that Ipswich will be able to compete at the top end of the division.

"If you make an error, they’ll pounce on it,” he said.

"There are more clinical players, it’s more of a physical game, but the way we’ve trained this pre-season, we’re ready.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jack Taylor is back in the Championship after suffering relegation with Peterborough United in 2021/22Jack Taylor is back in the Championship after suffering relegation with Peterborough United in 2021/22 (Image: PA Images)

“We saw what happened last year. Nobody would’ve said Luton would’ve gone up. Why can’t we go and replicate that?”

That aforementioned Championship experience with the Posh was tough, especially as Taylor was ruled out for an extended period through injury.

“I wasn’t happy with the year that I had,” he revealed.

“I was injured with hamstrings and things like that, so staying injury-free was a massive boost for me last season. I’m looking to do the same this year.”

Injuries can be hard to prevent, however, which is part of the reason why Town are operating with a fairly large squad.

The 25-year-old faces a lot of competition in midfield, but he knows that it will be crucial if they’re to boast a strong starting lineup for all 46 games.

"I’ve not been used to sitting out, to be honest,” he admitted.

"I’ll keep training and giving it my all every time I step out on the pitch. Hopefully he [Kieran McKenna] can’t drop me.

"To be successful, you need to have a squad. You don’t just have an eleven and a couple of others, you need a full squad to compete, train and push each other to become the best possible team."

The Republic of Ireland international described pre-season as “tough”, but all that is over now, with the real work about to begin.

Nonetheless, the training camps and friendly fixtures have given him a good chance to work closely with his new manager, which has been a unique experience compared to what he’s been used to at his previous clubs.

"It’s much more tactical, both in possession and out of possession," he explained. "I think I’ve adapted well and I’m getting the habits to my game.

East Anglian Daily Times: Jack Taylor praised Kieran McKenna ahead of the new Championship campaignJack Taylor praised Kieran McKenna ahead of the new Championship campaign (Image: Ross Halls)

"They (the coaching staff) are so onto you. They watch all your clips back after games, things like that. You can only get better."

For now, focus turns to the opening-day clash at the Stadium of Light, which will be a benchmark test for Town after being tipped for a play-off push by numerous fans and pundits.

Many consider the key to a successful season to be a fast start, but Taylor is adamant that it will be crucial to take one game at a time, especially considering the ruthless nature of the Championship.

"Obviously you want to pick up the wins nice and early, but it’s not the be-all and end-all,” he argued. “Teams are still figuring out style of play, new players, things like that, but there’s no rest, it’s relentless.

"There are teams like Leicester and Southampton, Tuesdays and Saturdays. You’ve got to focus on the games and pick up points where you can.

"No matter what time of the year or how they’ve done, going to the Stadium of Light at any time of the year will be tough. Obviously, they’ll have a big crowd, but we’re ready for it.

"I’m pretty sure teams will fear us. It’s going to be tough this year, but I think we’re ready."