Chambers, Nolan, Norwood and more - The Town players with most to prove this season
After a disappointing 11th-place finish in League One last season, the pressure is on for Ipswich Town. Mark Heath takes a look at the players with most to prove in the coming campaign...
Chambers’ qualities as a captain are not in doubt - an inspirational figure on and off the pitch, a big voice in the dressing room and a passionate, fiery leader.
He cops a huge amount of flak, some fair, some very unfair, but ultimately, as skipper, he is the one who has to lead Town out of the mess they’ve created.
He’s spoken before of his disappointment at being the captain who took Town down, and his determination to be the one who brings them back up. Well, aged 35 this season, he won’t get many more chances.
Played 32 games last campaign and had ups and downs - notably with that mistake in the home opener against Sunderland – but needs to show he’s still winning the battle against father time with a big season.
Nolan’s fitness and willingness to run are not in question - he’s been clocking 16 minute 5ks over the summer, which is superb.
The problem is, for all the effort on the pitch, Town fans are yet to see him produce consistently as a player.
He has some tremendous attributes, and one feels there’s a good player in there - one who could be a vital cog in a side which simply has to mount a promotion push this campaign.
Hopefully injury free going into this season, 2020/21 is the year Nolan has to produce.
It feels a bit unfair putting Dozzell on this list in a way - last season, he only got the odd game here and there to prove himself, before being dropped.
But for all Dozzell’s pedigree and profile at the club, one feels he should be further along in his career by now.
One of the best - if not the best - passer at the club, the same old questions remain about his ability to consistently impact and influence games.
Will be hoping he finally gets a consistent run in the side alongside Flynn Downes, and can show the talent which had Premier League clubs lining up not too long ago.
Ah, Teddy - so much potential, so many injury problems.
Last season was all set up to be a positive one for Bishop, following six months of sustained fitness and good form, but it wasn’t to be. He suffered a knee injury in pre-season and was out again until January.
He was the best player on the pitch on his full return at Exeter but featured just eight further times.
He was able to show flashes in all of those but, as he again enters the final year of his contract, it feels like the time has to be now for him to show he can be the player we know he is on a regular basis.
Alan Judge should be ripping League One apart as a No.10, pulling the strings in a rampant Town attack, but last season it just didn’t happen, for a variety of reasons.
Was unsettled by transfer talk going into the season, and struggled for fitness.
Scored four goals and showed signs that he was about to catch fire, but was often left floundering on the wing, unable to grab games by the scruff of the neck.
Judge will expect more of himself this season - as will the fans.
As with Judge, Emyr Huws would expect to be shining in the third tier of English football. As with Judge, it’s not quite worked out like that for the Welshman.
To be fair, last season was a major plus for Huws in terms of him making 25 appearances without breaking down, having missed the best part of the previous two years with injuries.
Now he’s got that under the belt, let’s hope he can be the player Town fans took to their hearts during his loan spell.
The 2020/21 campaign needs to be one of further improvements for Huws - neither he, nor Town, can afford backwards steps.
On the face of it, putting the club’s joint-leading scorer on this list could perhaps be deemed unfair.
But, after a summer in which he was Town’s most heralded capture, arriving with hopes of leading the league in scoring, Norwood’s evetual return of 11 strikes was underwhelming.
There were reasons, of course - notably the groin injury which left him playing, by his own admission, at 50% for much of the season.
But Town signed him to be the 20-goal a season striker every side hopes for as they challenge for promotion - you get the feeling that Norwood will be raring to go and prove that he is just that this campaign.
Sears was expected to be like the proverbial ‘new signing’ when he returned from his lengthy spell on the sidelines, after a knee injury, on Boxing Day.
It didn’t work out like that though, with Sears failing to make much of an impact in his 12 appearances.
He did at least manage to net, at Blackpool, and will be hoping that an extended summer has given him even more time to truly get back up to full speed.
Entering the final year of his contract, he needs to weigh in with goals.
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