'Hopefully I can add some goals and assists' - Barnsley loanee Thomas keen to give Ipswich a lift
- Credit: ITFC
Ipswich Town have signed winger Luke Thomas on loan from Championship club Barnsley until the end of the season.
The direct and tenacious left-footer attracted Premier League interest as a 16-year-old at Cheltenham, made his senior debut for Derby in the Championship at the age of 18, then enjoyed an impressive loan spell in League One with Coventry City.
That led to a £1.2m switch to newly-promoted second-tier club Barnsley, but he's had a stop-start 18 months at Oakwell.
Falling in and out of favour under three different managers and two spells of caretaker management, the former England Under-20 international arrives at Portman Road having scored two goals in 34 starts and 30 substitute appearances for the Tykes.
League One rivals Sunderland and Oxford United were also interested in the 21-year-old who, due to the fact he was under 21 at the star of 2020, will not count towards Town's salary cap.
Thomas, who will wear the No.27 shirt for Town, will still have two years left on his Barnsley contract after this season. He goes straight into the squad for Saturday's home game with Peterborough.
"I'm over the moon to have sorted a deal," said Thomas, speaking to the club website. "It's been going on for a couple of weeks but it's sorted now.
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"I can't wait for Saturday and hopefully at some point I'll be able to play in front of the fans.
"Coming here and looking at this magnificent stadium, there is no way this club should be in League One.
"I trained for the first time this morning and it went really well. It was nice to meet the lads and I'm looking forward to my first match day.
"Hopefully I can add some goals and assists and we can push on and get promoted.
"It's good to be part of a challenge. I will relish it."
Reflecting on his stop-start time at Barnsley, he said: "It's been frustrating for me to keep coming off the bench. I'm so glad to have now got this opportunity with a club like Ipswich to hopefully cement my place in the first team and play every single week.
"At Barnsley we didn't really play the formation that suited me. I'm an out and out winger. That's all I know. I like to get the ball on the wing and cause problems for the full-back I am up against. I work hard for the team and get back and do my defensive work too."
With Ipswich now hosting Peterborough and Sunderland in their next two games, Thomas added: "The first thing I said to the gaffer is there are two massive games coming up and he said there is no reason why we can't go out and get six points. If we did that it would put us in a really good place."
Meanwhile, the Blues are awaiting the results of Josh Harrop's medical before announcing his arrival on loan from Championship club Preston.
The 25-year-old missed the majority of the 2018/19 campaign with a cruciate knee ligament injury and has found his game/training time limited this season due to hamstring niggles.
A Manchester United academy graduate, Harrop has been a bit part player during his three-and-a-bit years at Deepdale. The technically-gifted set-piece specialist has scored 13 goals in 39 starts and 55 substitute appearances for the Lilywhites.
The versatile attacker, who can play as a No.10 or wide, signed a new three-year deal at Preston last summer off the back of an eight-goal campaign.
If Harrop is signed, the Blues will have to cut a 'senior' player from their squad to stay under the £2.5m salary cap.