Andy’s Angles: Norwood’s on fire, a timely reminder and a case for the defence - observations from Colchester rout
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town secured their first victory of pre-season with a 5-0 success at Colchester this evening. ANDY WARREN looks at the key talking points coming out of the game.
Calming a few nerves
Rightly or wrongly, the Blues' results in Germany and the injuries suffered during the pre-season tour had dampened some of the summer optimism around Portman Road.
Those games against good opposition in Paderborn, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Meppen, represented a tough start early in the Blues' preparation, but this stretch of games in England is where the real work begins.
Paul Lambert's side were excellent in attack this evening, as James Norwood struck a hat-trick and Kayden Jackson added a brace, with the two strikers ably supported from wide areas and in midfield.
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They were rarely tested at the other end as Colchester offered little in the final third, but the increased goal threat should calm a few nerves.
Lambert was right to insist post-match that this result was nothing to get carried away with - the Blues still have issues to resolve and were rarely tested at the back - but there are plenty of positives to take.
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Norwood's on fire
The Blues were crying out for a focal point in attack for much of last season but they now appear to have found one.
Norwood was off the mark within four minutes of his first appearance against Fortuna Dusseldorf and his hot streak intensified here as he found the net three times.
The goals were a good snapshot of what he's all about; placement for the penalty following a foul on Danny Rowe, pinpoint finishing to convert his second from a superb Myles Kenlock cross and being in the right place at the right time for his third following Jackson's ball in.
His all-round play can't be understated, either.
He's a magnet for the ball and is clever when he gets it. It's not always pretty but he uses feet, head and chest well to lay the ball off for team-mates and is quickly on the move to try and get it back.
The travelling Ipswich fans enjoyed what they saw and this display again whetted the appetite for more.
He's a firm favourite already, just a few days into his Ipswich career.
Don't forget about me
Norwood's arrival is the centre-piece of Paul Lambert's summer transfer business to date, but don't switch off on Kayden Jackson.
He played in a front two alongside the new signing for 25 minutes following his introduction from the bench, scoring twice himself and laying on his partner's third.
His pace and direct running can be a threat and, if he finishes as he did this evening, he can be a real asset himself.
Cole Skuse, Alan Judge, Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan, Teddy Bishop, Toto Nsiala, Jack Lankester, Freddie Sears. The list of injured Ipswich Town players seems to be ever growing.
Skuse is the latest name added to the list, having slipped and suffering a minor hip injury in training, leaving a hole in midfield as well as robbing Lambert of some much-needed centre-back cover and experience.
It's possible the majority of that list will be missing for the start of the League One season on August 3, meaning an extremely young side could take to the field at Burton in two weeks' time.
A makeshift defence
The spotlight is firmly on the Ipswich Town defence heading into the new season.
Nsiala's hamstring injury leaves Luke Chambers as the only fit senior central defender and, given he's suspended for the opening-day clash at Burton, two starting spots are up for grabs.
Lambert started this game with a central pairing of Chambers and Myles Kenlock, with the skipper the pick of the bunch with a good block and a couple of good interceptions.
Kenlock did well enough, winning balls in the air and on the ground, but did his best work tracking runners into his favoured full-back position where Tristan Nydam was again operating.
James Wilson, currently training with the Blues after leaving Lincoln, played the second half while youngsters Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba sat on the sidelines. They could get their chance at Notts County on Tuesday, but there's a fair chance Lambert may add to his squad before the real football begins on August 3.
A chance to impress
Wilson trained with the Blues for the first time on Wednesday and was thrown into match action just a few days later.
Given the previously mentioned defensive issues there's a good chance Lambert will recruit in the next two weeks so Wilson, a one-cap Wales international, could well get another chance to impress on Tuesday night at Notts County.
He did well enough in this one but, in truth, was not overly tested as the Blues spent almost the entirety of the second half on the attack.
A first glimpse
The Everton loanee was given the first 45 minutes and operated in an advanced role on the left of midfield.
He linked up well with Norwood and left-back Tristan Nydam while also dropping inside to support the Ipswich central midfielders.
Much of the play went down the opposite sides but there were some neat touches, decent deliveries from corners but much more to come, considering this was his first action of the summer.