Hits, misses, an 'unseen' suspension, a few goals and two still without clubs - how the departed Ipswich players are faring ahead of Bishop reunion
- Credit: PA
Ahead of Ipswich Town's reunion with Teddy Bishop this weekend, Andy Warren looks at how the army of players let go by Ipswich this summer are getting on with their new clubs.
The midfield maestro
Let’s start with a player Town will soon be facing – Lincoln City’s Teddy Bishop.
The midfielder had been at Ipswich for 18 years before Cook told him he was no longer required, despite having triggered a contract extension which kept him at Portman Road for the season to come.
He eventually found a home at Lincoln and has had a decent start to life at the Imps, featuring in eight of their 10 games so far this season and scoring a stunner away at Shrewsbury in the Carabao Cup.
A combination of a minor ankle injury and illness have limited his role in the last two Lincoln games, but he’s fit to play this weekend.
Bishop is playing in a midfield three and has the freedom to get on the ball and run with it – exactly as he likes to play.
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He’s sure to want to make his mark against his boyhood club.
The ‘Col U Four’
Much has been made of Ipswich Town veterans heading south this summer, with four central figures of recent years all joining Colchester United.
Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse, Alan Judge and Freddie Sears all made permanent moves down the A12 this summer and currently find themselves ninth in the League Two table, with a game in hand on most of those above them.
Chambers has started every league game but will miss the next one following his red card in the win at Barrow on Friday night, a game in which both Judge and Sears scored. The latter has three goals in five league starts, two of which came from the spot, while Judge has had a few injury niggles.
Skuse, by all accounts, has been the best-performing of a quartet, anchoring midfield well in his six appearances.
They have, of course, been joined by young Ipswich loanee Armando Dobra in recent weeks, while the likes of Tommy Smith, Dean Gerken, Frank Nouble and Tom Eastman were already at the club.
The crown jewels
There was a time we dreamed a midfield including Flynn Downes and Andre Dozzell would be a firm fixture at Ipswich Town side for years to come. But it didn’t work out that way.
Both moved on this summer and both ended up in the Championship. Cook admitted recently that the Blues have let players go who will go on and have excellent careers – it's likely he was talking about these two.
Downes has gone straight into Russell Martin’s starting XI since his move to Swansea but has been ‘properly messed up’ by Covid, which kept him on the sidelines before and during the recent international break. He’s back now, though.
He picks up the ball from the Swans’ back four and starts attacks – a role he says he’s thoroughly enjoying. He’s been a hit with Swansea fans, too, though competition is fierce with Matt Grimes, Oliver Ntcham and Liam Walsh all fighting for positions in Martin’s midfield.
The Liberty Stadium side have won just once in the league this season, leaving them 20th.
Dozzell hasn’t had things quite so easy since his £1million move to Queens Park Rangers.
He’s started just one Championship game and was substituted after just 36 minutes of that game.
“We were two down and just felt we had to change it quickly,” manager Mark Warburton said, of a game against Barnsley which ultimately ended 2-2.
“It’s no reflection on Andre or George (Thomas) – they’ve been excellent since the first day of pre-season.”
There’s a sense at Loftus Road that the former Copleston High School pupil is ‘one for the future’.
James Wilson was named Ipswich’s player of the year before, just a matter of hours later, being told he was being released.
He was the first departing Ipswich player to get fixed up elsewhere, signing for Plymouth and quickly becoming a hit at Home Park.
He has missed time this season after picking up an odd suspension for an ‘unseen incident’, which Wilson disputed due to the fact he was provoked, though he and the club ultimately decided not to appeal the three-match ban.
He’s back now, with the Pilgrims sitting eighth in the table. Town go to Plymouth on October 30.
The man Town wanted to keep
Paul Cook wanted to keep Gwion Edwards, with the Blues offering him a new deal, but the Welshman turned it down and headed to Wigan instead.
And, on paper, it looks like it’s a move that’s worked out rather well, with the Latics sitting second in the table and the Blues 20 places further down.
Edwards scored on his debut at Sunderland but that has so far been his only start, with the Welshman coming off the bench twice and being an unused substitute in another. He’s playing in the cups, though he did miss a penalty in an EFL Trophy loss to Wolves’ Under 21s.
The forgotten strikers
Oli Hawkins and Aaron Drinan scored two goals between them in the entirety of their Ipswich Town careers.
They already have six between them for the season, with the pair netting three for Mansfield and Leyton Orient respectively.
Drinan is a regular starter with the O’s, netting in a televised clash with QPR as well as home wins over Exeter and Oldham. They’re fourth.
Hawkins’ Mansfield are 21st, with the big forward netting a brace in a loss to Bradford after scoring on his debut at home to Bristol Rovers.
The man waiting for a chance
David Cornell’s one-and-only Peterborough appearance so far saw him win the man-of-the-match award following a genuinely excellent display in a 4-0 home loss to Plymouth in the Carabao Cup.
But it appears he is about to get a chance in the league side as Posh look to move up from their current position of 23rd in the Championship.
He could well come into the Peterborough side for this weekend’s game with Birmingham.
Veteran Irishman Stephen Ward's slide down the leagues continued when he signed for Walsall this summer, having played in the Premier League, Championship and then League One with Ipswich in successive seasons prior to his move to the Bescot.
He’s played every game, with the Saddlers 17th in the fourth-tier table.
The academy product
Jack Lankester’s Ipswich career was blighted by injury which cost him 18 vital months and, though he got back playing again, he never really recovered.
He was another told by Cook he could move on, with the move to Cambridge United looking like a good fit for all parties as the popular attacker joined a club with which he has family connections.
Lankester, who is due to become a father in the coming weeks, hasn’t had the easiest start to life at the Abbey Stadium but is back on the pitch after injury and is looking to make an impact.
He made his first league appearance from the bench on Saturday and will be hoping to make a bigger impact in the coming weeks. His side host Ipswich on October 16.
After leaving Town without agreeing fresh terms, Liam Gibbs signed for rivals Norwich for a six-figure compensation fee and has slipped into the Canaries’ Under 23 set-up.
He’s started all of their Premier League 2 fixtures to date.
Barry Cotter’s Ipswich career is one of the strangest of recent times.
Those who saw his excellent debut in April 2018 would not have believed he’d make just one more league appearance for the club before ultimately being released in March.
It took him six months to get fixed up elsewhere but he’s playing again back in Ireland with Shamrock Rovers and is on course to win a league title in his homeland.
Don’t be shocked if we see him have another crack at the English game in the future.
The two young keepers
Harry Wright and Adam Przybek were both released before the end of last season but both soon fixed themselves up in League One.
Wright’s at Fleetwood but has yet to make the bench in the league, doing so once in the EFL Trophy.
Przybek has been an unused substitute behind former Blue David Stockdale for his first six league games at new club Wycombe. He’s featured twice in cups, though.
As well as the permanent departures from Portman Road, six of last season’s loanees are also plying their trade elsewhere now.
We’ve seen Troy Parrott already when MK Dons came to Portman Road, with the Irishman netting twice in his eight appearances so far this season.
Mark McGuinness joined Cardiff from Arsenal this summer and has made only one appearances, with his solitary outing coming on the opening day of the season for Mick McCarthy’s side. An ankle injury had kept him out, but he’s back on the bench now.
Josh Harrop made very little impact during his time at Town and hasn’t been involved now he’s back at parent club, making the bench just once. Indeed, he’s said to be available for transfer and hasn’t yet been included in Preston’s 25-man squad. The Lilywhites have one space remaining and, if Harrop doesn’t eventually take it, he won’t be playing at all until January at least.
It looked like Luke Thomas would be a star for new club Bristol Rovers, following a superb pre-season, but he too had found time on the pitch tough to come by due to fitness concerns. That’s meant he was told told he must complete a ‘mini pre-season' before being considered for selection again.
Former Ipswich assistant Stuart Taylor made Luke Matheson his first Hamilton signing, after taking over as boss, with the youngster thrust into a side which won its first two games under Taylor before losing 4-0 to Arbroath last time out. They sit ninth in the Scottish second tier.
And, last but not least, is a man who looked likely to be heading out on loan again, only to surprisingly find himself involved in his parent club’s plans.
Keanan Bennetts has played in three games for Borussia Monchengladbach so far this season, including 20 minutes off the bench in his side’s Bundesliga opener against the mighty Bayern Munich. He's been an unused sub in both of his team’s other two matches and looks like he will be involved throughout the season, despite his struggles in Suffolk.
The men yet to get fixed up
Of all those moved on this summer, there are two men yet to get deals elsewhere.
Emyr Huws left Ipswich early, effectively leaving the club several weeks before the end of the season and the expiry of his contract, with the Welshman, still living in the town, having irons in the fire at that point.
They didn’t work out and he went on trial to Doncaster earlier this summer, without winning a deal.
Tristan Nydam battled hard to return from a nasty ankle injury, making his first-team comeback before the end of the season and earning praise from Cook in the process.
That wasn’t enough to win a new deal, though, with Nydam still spending time training with the Blues while he ponders his next move.
Young French midfielder Allan Viral is now at Norwegian side Flekkerøy IL following his Ipswich release, with Zak and Kai Brown are at Felixstowe and Welling respectively.
Ben Folami was already on loan with Australian A-League side Melbourne Victory prior to his Portman Road exit, before signing full-time as a free agent.