Door is open for fringe players and kids as Ipswich Town start pre-season in Dublin

Ipswich Town striker Ben Morris

Ipswich Town striker Ben Morris - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town play their first pre-season friendly of 2016/17 today and, with a lack of new signings, the annual game against Irish side Shelbourne provides a golden opportunity for academy and fringe players to work their way into Mick McCarthy’s plans.

The Blues have spent this week training at the impressive facilities of Carton House, just outside of Dublin, but it’s been a thin-on-the-ground squad involved compared to previous years.

Summer signing Adam Webster travelled in order to get to know his new team-mates, but has been unable to train due to the ankle injury he sustained at Portsmouth towards the back end of last season.

The only other ‘new’ recruit this summer is Paul Digby, whose loan from Barnsley has been made permanent, with eight first team players having been released or departed following loan deals at the end of last season.

Giles Coke is still undergoing rehab work following knee surgery, while young left-back Myles Kenlock has stayed at home due to injury too.

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Striker Daryl Murphy won’t link up with the squad until Tuesday after his recent exploits for the Republic of Ireland at the European Championships.

McCarthy has made it clear that it is the loan market he is looking to this summer and that it will be a waiting game as Premier League players take their youngster away on tours.

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Until then, the door is open for some of Town’s own academy graduates and fringe players to really push their way into the first team picture, or even towards the starting line-up for the Championship opener against Barnsley (August 6), over the coming weeks.

Andre Dozzell and Josh Emmanuel could enhance their growing reputations further, while Teddy Bishop needs to prove his fitness after a year on the sidelines.

The transfer-listed Cameron Stewart is likely to get an opportunity to prove a point, as are youngsters Adam McDonnell, James Blanchfield, Shane McLoughlin, Monty Patterson and Ben Morris.

The latter mentioned quartet have all recently penned professional deals, with forward Patterson having been called up by the New Zealand senior squad this summer and striker Morris featuring alongside Dozzell for England at the Under-17 European Championships.

Blanchfield, 18, is a former Arsenal academy midfielder who had a trial at Manchester United, while Republic of Ireland Under-18 international midfielder McLoughlin was on the first team bench for the FA Cup replay at Portsmouth back in January.

This is the fourth successive year that Town have kick-started their pre-season preparations at Tolka Park, having comfortably won 2-0, 4-0 and 6-0 in previous meetings.

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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