Are Town better or worse than when season started?

IPSWICH TOWN: Did the Blues finish a worse side last season than when they started?

Are they better or worse equipped now to make a promotion challenge to the Premier League in 2010/11 than they were in 2009/10?

There are mixed pointers for success-starved Town fans to ponder over during the summer months.

On one hand their points haul from November onwards – after their worst start to any campaign – was high enough to have seen them in contention for a Championship play-off place if maintained all season.

On the other hand, their displays in their final two home matches – against Doncaster and Sheffield United – were inferior to their opening game defeat at Coventry on August 9.

Manager Roy Keane on the basis of the Blades defeat has taken the club nowhere in his 13 months in charge despite spending a total of �7million in transfer fees on the likes of Tamas Priskin and Lee Martin who at this stage in their Ipswich careers can only be classed as failures.

Like the Ipswich docks project - with a journey along College Street confirming the area is now much more of a mess than it was two years ago - the Tractor Boys have also moved backwards.

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Perhaps a change in MP for the town will perk both the partly Beirut-style waterfront and the once feared football club.

Keane, who has bought a family house in the area after initially renting, is seeking to bring in four of five players who he feels can make a big difference and blend with the five or six core players he has identified from his current squad.

He is optimistic about the future, and said: “It’s not all doom and gloom.

“There’s a lot of plusses going on in the background.

“There is room to improve and we know that but players like Grant Leadbitter will improve and Brian Murphy will get better.

“If I was to sum last season it would be one of frustration and disappointment.

“But there have been positives with the biggest being the emergence of Connor Wickham.

“We have to acknowledge that he’s the type of player that managers will be looking at – young, talented and hungry.

“But I’ve no intention of letting Connor go and that goes for my core players including skipper Jon Walters.”

Keane has confirmed that he does not intend to have as big a squad next season with injuries down 25%.

“We won’t need so many players although I appreciate that that some on contracts that will be allowed to move on may decide to sit tight.”

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