A first-team regular, some spectacular goals but a few frustrations - how Town's loanees are faring away from Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 06:00 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:44 21 March 2019
Five Ipswich Town players are currently plying their trade away from Portman Road. Andy Warren takes a look at how they are getting on with their loan clubs.
Luke Woolfenden – Swindon Town
It’s been a big season for Luke Woolfenden, with the youngster enjoying his first taste of regular league football.
Woolfenden has played 29 games in total under two different managers – Phil Brown and Richie Wellens – at the League Two club after he was recommended to the Robins by former Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy.
The 20-year-old has scored two goals as well, including finishing off a superb team move in the recent 3-0 victory over Colchester at the County Ground.
He’s played the majority of his football in the centre of the Swindon defence but has also spent time at right-back, looking comfortable in both roles.
Those who have watched him regularly this season say he is good positionally, has high levels of concentration, appears to give himself more time on the ball when compared to his team-mates and plays the ball well from the back.
There’s a feeling he could comfortably play at a higher level next season, with League One a natural step following a year with Bromley in the National League and then his time with the Robins in League Two.
Woolfenden signed a new deal with the Blues recently that will keep him at Portman Road until the summer of 2022, making him one of the club’s longest-contracted players along with Jack Lankester and Corrie Ndaba.
He undoubtedly has more to learn but figures to have a role to play for the Blues next season as Ipswich build around their youngsters.
Danny Rowe and Jordan Roberts – Lincoln City
Lincoln boss Danny Cowley brought in a pair of Ipswich Town players to bolster his side’s promotion hopes in January.
The Imps are currently top of League 2 and are surely heading for the third tier, with one of the players borrowed from Ipswich playing a big part in that and the other struggling to make an impact.
Danny Rowe is back in familiar territory having also spent time on loan at Lincoln last season but has taken his performances up a gear this time around.
His first spell with the club was spent largely playing on the wing but now he taken up a position behind the central striker, providing excellent link-up play and creating chances for his side.
He’s scored four goals, including a brace at Yeovil and good strikes against Bury and Oldham.
There’s a sense that the Cowley brothers would be interested in making Rowe’s move permanent, but that he still has a role to play at Ipswich.
Jordan Roberts, the man used to great effect as a central striker in Paul Lambert’s first two games as Ipswich boss, dropped down the Portman Road pecking order but has not found the gametime he wanted at Sincil Bank.
He’s played just 21 minutes of football during two substitute appearances, not making it off the bench in six further games and missing out on the squad entirely in others.
Janoi Donacien – Accrington Stanley
It’s been a funny old season for Janoi Donacien.
Signed by Ipswich Town on an initial loan in the summer, he showed good signs when on the field but struggled for regular gametime. He was made to wait as red tape held up his work permit application process and was then loaned back to his former club just 15 days after it finally arrived to make his move to Portman Road permanent for £750,000.
The upshot of it all, though, is that Donacien is currently playing a division higher than he was a year ago, when he was part of the Accrington side which won the League Two title.
He was seen very much as a right-back when signed by Paul Hurst in the summer, before incoming boss Paul Lambert stated that he sees his former Aston Villa youngster as a central defensive option.
But he’s been playing much of his football at left-back upon his return to the Wham Stadium and has seen his performance levels improve week on week after a few tough games to begin with. He’s played 10 games in total.
Stanley sit 15th in League One but are only two points above the drop zone. Remarkably they are one of 12 teams involved in a relegation battle which looks set to go all the way to the wire.
Donacien is contracted to Ipswich until the summer of 2021 and it remains to be seen whether Lambert sees him as part of his plans going forward.
Aaron Drinan - Waterford
The young Irishman was much-heralded by both Mick McCarthy and Luke Chambers upon his arrival in January 2018 but has yet to make his Ipswich debut.
The striker was loaned out to Sutton United in the National League by Paul Hurst at the start of the season but scored just once – albeit a dramatic FA Cup winner – during 22 appearances for the club.
He is now back in Ireland with Waterford and has struck twice in six games, also earning a call-up to the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad.
He is well down the pecking order at Portman Road and has some work to do if he is to force his way into Lambert’s thinking.