FAN’S SEASON PREVIEW: Reasons for optimism but wafer-thin squad needs improving
“Maybe next year” is my usual prediction for Ipswich Town. Last season, I honestly thought it might be the one. He are my thoughts on the Blues’ hopes for 2012/13.
When your manager says, five days before your opening league game, that “everything that could go wrong in the transfer market has gone wrong so far,” you know that those FIVE top class players you have spent pre-season dreaming about signing for your club are probably not going to turn up. Still, it did start well.
Elliot Hewitt is an exciting signing, particularly after hearing comparisons with Gareth Bale from Macclesfield fans, though his injury record is concerning.
Luke Chambers looks to be a quality bit of business for a free transfer.
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Finally, finally, we have a permanent number one goalkeeper. No more loan deals, no more 24 hour emergency recalls, Scott Loach looks to be an absolute steal at �150k.
Massimo Luongo looks to be a real prospect – a deft touch on the ball with some creativity and composure, he could well be one of our stand-out performers. He is ultimately a loanee though and it is depressing that no matter how well he performs, we will still need a replacement for next season.
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Transfer activity seems to have hit a brick wall since then. It looks like Town will have to go wading once again into the dark waters of the loan market.
A fit and firing frontline of JET, Lee Martin and Michael Chopra could be a lethal combination. A more settled back-five will give us more defensive consistency than last season and hopefully more clean sheets.
The holding-midfield partnership of Luongo and Like Hyam has already been compared in some quarters to the hugely successful Jim Magilton/Matt Holland partnership.
It is early days but it is an example of the young, promising talent in the squad – something Town fans were crying out for after the failed ‘experience-based’ transfer policy of last season.
No strength in depth. At all. Town’s striker department currently consists of Chopra, Jason Scotland, the inexperienced Ronan Murray and Nathan Ellington, who appears to have one foot out of the door.
The squad remains worryingly short of cover in all areas. Even just a couple of injuries to first-teamers will stretch the squad to breaking point.
Has to be Chopra doesn’t it? On fire in pre-season, his spell at the fitness camp in California will hopefully help to keep him sharp for the duration of the season. 14 league goals last season was a good return given his well-publicised personal problems. Whisper it quietly, but he could well hit that infamous 20-goal mark.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
I’m going for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. Showed glimpses of his genuine class last season but with a bit of consistency, and some good old fashioned hard-work, JET could well be one the league’s top performers this season. I’m backing him to end his love-affair with the crossbar and hit the net more regularly this season with that ballistic left-foot of his.
On paper, our current first XI looks dangerous. We will win games, but with a wafer-thin squad, I would put money on another one of our 10 game mega-slumps that costs us the chance of a play-off place. While we should be able to improve on our 15th place last season, unless the squad depth is increased before the end of the transfer window, it is difficult to see Town finishing higher than 10th. Maybe next year.
* Do you agree with Andrew? Let us know your views below