'Potential for the team to take off' - Ex-Town star Hamilton backs McKenna

Bryan Hamilton believes Kieran McKenna is an exciting appointment for Ipswich Town

Bryan Hamilton believes Kieran McKenna is an exciting appointment for Ipswich Town - Credit: Focus Images/PA

Former Ipswich Town star Bryan Hamilton has backed his fellow Northern Irishman Kieran McKenna to be the man who finally turns the club's fortunes around.

McKenna, 35, was unveiled as Town's new boss last week, having been plucked from the Manchester United backroom staff.

He'll take charge of Town for the first time against Wycombe at Portman Road on Wednesday night, with his new side facing a battle to get back into the promotion chase this season.

But Hamilton, who played for Town between 1971 and 1976 and still enjoys a great relationship with the club, says McKenna could be the right man at the right time for the Blues, who have slowly fallen from grace over the past two decades.

Bryan Hamilton

Former Town star Bryan Hamilton has backed McKenna to shine at Portman Road

"I have met the chief executive and the people who have bought the club and that they want something special to happen," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It’s an investment from them and they want better days and better things from their investment.

“There is a reasonable and sensible level of expectation, although they are expecting to do things and become a bigger club - they will be patient, but they want to see a continual development.

“Kieran has been very well received, it’s not a bad time to come in, you don’t normally get a team that is top of the league, you normally get a team that is bottom of the league.

"This team aren’t bottom of the league and I think they have enough quality about them to get into the top six.

“If he’d been appointed in three months’ time it would have been very difficult for him.

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“I think there is potential for the team to take off. It is a great opportunity for him for they are a very good club with great tradition and a history that has been sitting for too many years now in not a good place. With the new owners, there is a vibrancy about what they are trying to do.”

Bryan Hamilton scores against Norwich

Bryan Hamilton scores against Norwich - Credit: Archant

Former Northern Ireland boss Hamilton, who turns 75 on New Year's Eve, added: “The club has gone through such a long period of time where it hasn’t been right and what I believe is that somebody is going to fall lucky.

“They are going to get a very good club with a very good history and a group of players who can do better.

“I think they could do what Leeds United and Sheffield United have done over the last few seasons.

“There are a lot of clubs of that ilk who have gone through indifferent periods.

“I think the expectations at this moment in time are they want to get into the Championship and in a roundabout way that is smart talking because if the expectations are to win the Champions League then that is going to be very long-term.

“Kieran will get time and he will get the opportunity to show what he can do and what he can develop and I hope it works for him. It will be amazing and brilliant for him if it works.”

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