Coulson started with a saga and ended with a whimper as injuries bit
- Credit: Archant
Hayden Coulson has left Ipswich Town and joined Peterborough, after his loan move to Portman Road was cut short. Andy Warren looks back at his time in Suffolk.
Hayden Coulson’s Ipswich Town career started with a saga and ended with a whimper.
The left-back, once linked with a £10million move to Newcastle, looked like a good pick-up when he was eventually loaned from Middlesbrough back in the summer.
It took weeks to finally get him. First there was an internal struggle at Middlesbrough, as they decided whether or not to loan him out. Then there was a thigh injury, which kept him out of Boro’s pre-season schedule. Then he caught Covid.
He did eventually arrive, though.
His debut was promising, as he got up-and-down the left flank against MK Dons, before he started the next two games as well as Town let a two-goal lead slip to Wimbledon before being hammered at home by Bolton.
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Town finally won at Lincoln, with Coulson vital in that victory as he swung in an excellent cross which Macauley Bonne headed home to secure a 1-0 win.
Town were up-and-running, but the victory was the beginning of the end for Coulson.
He left that game early through injury, missing the next seven league matches before returning after six weeks out at Plymouth. He played on the right wing but looked understandably undercooked and struggled to get involved.
He switched back to his more natural left-back position at Wycombe three days later but suffered another bang to his leg, leaving the field during the first half and never pulling on a Town shirt again.
He returned to Middlesbrough in a bid for fitness but struggled to get to the end of that road, missing three months of football before returning to Ipswich to train.
Town decided to move on from him, though. They signed Dominic Thompson from Brentford in his place, before Coulson’s Town career officially came to an end on deadline day.
Coulson, Matt Penney, Cameron Burgess, Bailey Clements, Myles Kenlock, Kane Vincent-Young and now Thompson have all been deployed at left-back this season.
Hopefully the last of those turns out to be the answer.
What went well
Coulson has all the attributes to succeed in Kieran McKenna’s system. It’s just a shame the Town boss never got to use him.
He ticked all of Paul Cook’s boxes, too. He can defend but is forward-focused, looking to get up and down the left flank to join in the attack.
We saw flashes of that, notably in that promising debut and then with the expert ball into the box for Bonne’s goal at Lincoln.
Town have Wes Burns on the right flank, the utility winger who is perfect for the 3-4-3 wing-backs formation.
Coulson could have been the left-sided equivalent, had he been able to get on the pitch.
Areas to improve
This section is where we normally dissect the areas where players struggled. But, on the pitch, Coulson looked a good signing.
But he only managed six games for the club due to injury. That means he’s a signing which simply didn’t work out.
There’s not really much more to say.
What the future holds
Coulson is already back out on loan, joining Peterborough until the end of the season.
He’s straight into the thick of the Championship relegation battle, with Posh 22nd in the table, two points from safety.
But, crucially, he has the opportunity to play after a disjoined first half to the season.
He says he feels fit.
“The opportunity to play Championship football was a big attraction and I am joining a club that is fighting to stay in the division, so every point is crucial,” Coulson said after signing. “When I sat down with the manager, he discussed about how he wants to play and I feel I can help the team achieve their objective.
“In the modern game, if you are a full-back or a wing-back, the job is to defend and support the attack.
“I feel fit and I am looking forward to meeting the lads and looking forward to the weekend. It is mad to be involved on deadline day, but it is nice to get it done earlier in the week, so I can get used to everything.
“The Championship is a relentless league, every game is difficult, but I am sure we have what it takes to survive.”