Carter-Vickers and Gleeson get an early chance to impress on Ipswich debuts... so how did they get on?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 January 2018
Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738
Player watch: It’s fair to say Ipswich Town’s two Friday signings split opinion when they were unveiled.
Cameron Carter-Vickers’ loan arrival from Tottenham was met with a mix of intrigue, excitement, surprise and confusion, after he moved to Portman Road for the rest of the season after his temporary switch to Sheffield United was cut short.
There were those enthused by the signing of a young player with plenty of potential and others concerned to see the Blues sign a defender sent back to his parent club by a Championship rival.
Stephen Gleeson’s arrival on a short-term deal from Birmingham also raised plenty of questions. There were those underwhelmed by the signing of a 29-year-old who struggled for minutes in a side battling relegation while many were willing to give a proven Championship performer a chance to impress.
Both were given that chance at the Macron Stadium and, to an extent, they both took it.
Carter-Vickers played from the start, displaying pace, power and poise during his 90 minutes alongside Luke Chambers at the heart of the Ipswich defence.
Gleeson was a half-time introduction in place of Cole Skuse and put in a display described by Mick McCarthy post-match as being ‘a mile above anyone else’.
That’s not to say he came in and completely dominated the game, following an extremely poor first-half in which neither side showed any willingness to keep possession, but his display was certainly encouraging.
From the moment he stepped on the field he was demanding the ball and showing his vocal side, as he directed traffic and gave out positional orders to his team-mates.
He moved the ball well, kept possession on an afternoon when many of his team-mates gave it away too cheaply, and played a part in the slick attacking move which led to Joe Garner’s equaliser.
Both starting central midfielders, Cole Skuse and Callum Connolly, left the game with knocks, increasing the likelihood of Gleeson making his first start against Wolves next weekend.
Carter-Vickers’ Ipswich debut interestingly came at the same venue as his Sheffield United bow came in September – a game in which he scored the winner – and he was involved almost immediately with a solid clearance, a confident ball forward and one stride out from the back all coming inside the first five minutes.
The nice touches continued throughout a desperately poor half of football from both sides, while he also competed well against towering striker Gary Madine despite being far from a towering centre-back.
One 50-yard cross-field ball for Jonas Knudsen stood out, as he confidently used the ball to pick out team-mates, while he showed good pace to snuff out any threat when the Bolton forwards threatened to get in behind.
He’s far from the finished article but showed enough at the Macron to suggest he will be an able deputy for the currently-sidelined Adam Webster between now at the end of the season.
McCarthy admitted at the start of January that the Blues’ winter recruitment would focus on short-term fixes, with the Ipswich manager not offering any ‘long-termism’, and while that strategy raises questions in itself, the early signs suggest the two players brought in can make an impact.