Power Rankings: The ultimate list of who’s hot and who’s not in the Ipswich Town squad
- Credit: Archant
Welcome to the first edition of the Ipswich Town Power Rankings, where we chart who’s hot and who’s not within the Blues’ squad.
Welcome to the first edition of the Ipswich Town Power Rankings.
This is the ultimate list of who's hot and who's not in the Ipswich Town squad. So here's how it works.
Power Rankings is not necessarily an ordered list of the best and worst players at the club, it's not grounded in statistics or simply a reflection of ability. It is in a constant state of flux and based on vibe, feeling, standing, form, comparison to others and what the future may hold.
Only players who have made appearances in the league are eligible, with this list updated regularly and players added as and when they appear.
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So let's get started.
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1 - Flynn Downes
The first man to top these rankings is a young midfielder who has taken his game to the next level so far this season.
His season started in worrying fashion as he was sent off in Town's final pre-season friendly at Cambridge for a violent headbutt, but the youngster deserves great credit for the way he bounced back from that incident and has been controlled throughout his time on the field.
He's only missed two league games, which coincided with Ipswich's two league losses, with the Blues certainly missing his snappy, intense and all-action midfield style during those games.
This was always going to be a big season for Downes and he's started it superbly.
2 - Luke Chambers
The skipper has been there and done it at Ipswich Town and was hurt more than most by the manner in which the club tumbled out of the Championship.
Time isn't on his side as the 34-year-old enters the final years of his career, as manager Paul Lambert has been so quick to point out on a number of occasions, but his influence is still strong.
He's a leader, a talker and a mentor but, above all of that, he's been an excellent defender this season ever since his mistake for Sunderland's goal on his season-debut.
Statistically he's one of the two best central defenders in League One so far this season, alongside Michael Ihiekwe of Rotherham, and remains his side's talisman.
3 - James Norwood
Paul Lambert trailed the former Tranmere man for much of last season and it's now clear why.
It's not just his on-field ability, it's his character, too. He's vocal, determined and demands more from his team-mates, all while bringing real 'character' to the Ipswich dressing room. Those are all qualities missing last season, with much of the responsibility falling on Chambers and Cole Skuse's shoulders.
Sure, he's missed chances and will be frustrated not to have more than the seven goals he has to his name so far this season, but his all-round contribution to the team can't be discounted.
He's not a traditional target man, he's more skilled than that, but he does have physical and battling qualities the Blues miss when he's not around. Kayden Jackson (more on him in a moment) has benefitted from playing alongside him, as will Will Keane if and when he gets that opportunity.
He's recently had a groin operation, as well as a rest, which figures to free him up to play without 'second guessing' his own body, as Lambert put it.
4 - Kayden Jackson
Last season was a difficult one for the striker, as he was asked to jump two divisions from League Two to the Championship and often lead a disjointed side as a lone striker with little support.
As a result, he struggled. Just as the team did. But it's been a different story this season.
His form in pre-season was excellent. We got our first look at Jackson and Norwood paired together in the 5-0 rout of Colchester and it's pretty much stayed that way ever since.
He's benefited from having a partner just as much as Norwood has benefited from playing with him, with Jackson now able to put his searing pace to good use and has showing a real eye for goal.
Both men are on seven goals and are developing into a nice pairing.
5 - Cole Skuse
Like Chambers, Skuse has been a mainstay for the Blues throughout much of this decade.
It remains that way, with their experience arguably more crucial than ever.
He's had his injury problems but when fit and firing he's been part of an excellent midfield partnership with Downes. He's maybe in the youngster's shadow a little, given his performances are perhaps not as eye-catching, but it's unlikely that will bother a man who thrives on his under-stated role.
Ipswich look worse without him on the field, so hopefully he's fully over his groin problem by the time the Blues host Blackpool next Saturday.
6 - Kane Vincent-Young
The right-back has taken to life as an Ipswich player like a duck to water.
He's scored two goals in just nine appearances and has brought back memories of Fabian Wilnis in the process, with his attacking style, quick feet and a liking for step-overs.
His fine start to life with Ipswich has been halted slightly by a groin problem which has required surgery, having hampered him in recent weeks and limiting his attacking impact.
He should return for the game with Blackpool next week.
7 - Luke Woolfenden
The Ice Man.
We knew the talent was there before Woolfenden went on loan to Swindon last season, but he's returned from Wiltshire as a League One-ready performer.
He had to win over Lambert in the summer but has done that relatively quickly and is just about a first-choice starter in the centre of defence, although he's had to share the role alongside Chambers with James Wilson at times.
Has the potential to be a real climber when it comes to this list.
8 - James Wilson
If we had had the foresight or organisational skills to start these rankings during pre-season, Wilson could potentially have found himself right at the very bottom.
It really did feel like Ipswich were signing a stop-gap player on a six-month deal, given Toto Nsiala's injury and Chambers' suspension on the opening day.
But the Welshman has proved himself to be a consistent performer and a cool customer, climbing this list with every passing game (had it existed before today).
He has been rewarded with a new deal and a place inside the Power Rankings top 10. Both good prizes.
9 - Luke Garbutt
The Everton-loanee's time in Suffolk started with a bang, with a goal to win the game at Burton on his debut and another against Sunderland the following week.
A knee injury halted his progress but he returned with a bang again, scoring a stunning free-kick against Tranmere and then providing Jackson's winner at Fleetwood.
He's had a few suspect defensive displays since and has found it harder to impact the game in attacking sense in matches where Lambert has deployed a back four and used him as a traditional left-back.
10 - Tomas Holy
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Czech goalkeeper would have been much higher on this list.
There have been a couple of wobbly moments, but he's been consistently good since his arrival in the summer, making the starting spot his own in League One. So he can perhaps feel unlucky to have lost his place to team-mate Will Norris.
Is Norris now Ipswich's No.1? I'm not sure I would quite go that far at this stage given Lambert's regular rotation, but it's fair to say Holy has lost his grip on the position.
11 - Jon Nolan
The midfielder's season doesn't feel as if it's truly gotten going yet, which you can certainly argue is a positive for Ipswich.
He's only started six games in the league but has had spells in all of them where we remember what he can do, without finding a level of consistent high form.
Another potential riser.
12 - Will Norris
Norris has had to be patient but he's finally got his chance in the league.
He arrived from Wolves with good pedigree and has been solid whenever he's taken to the field, with the game against Lincoln his best display as he saved a penalty and then made a good late save.
As stated earlier, it's hard to know whether Ipswich have a No.1 goalkeeper at present.
The position is one to watch in the coming weeks.
13 - Danny Rowe
The winger has played in 15 of Ipswich's 20 games so far this season, but only nine of those have been starts.
Ipswich's true wingers, let's add Gwion Edwards and Anthony Georgiou to this list, have been the victim of Lambert's chopping and changing when it comes to formations, with the wing-back system leaving them little room to operate.
Rowe's shown flashes, though, and proved to be the match-winner at Rochdale as he continues to get his Ipswich career back on track.
14 - Gwion Edwards
One of Town's 'injured army' at the start of the season, Edwards has been heavily impacted by Lambert's rotation policy, starting less than half (seven) of the club's league games.
Like the rest of the wingers, formations have not been his friend while it must be said he's not always taken his chance when it's come.
He's played at right-back and on the right wing, but has been used sparingly in the role he sees as his best - the left wing.
15 - Alan Judge
The Irishman would surely have been in the upper echelons of this list heading into the season.
But, following a well-documented summer of understandable transfer frustrations, when you consider what the midfielder has had going on in his family life, it just hasn't happened for him.
He's described his own performances as 's***'. That's extremely harsh but it does highlight just how far away from his best he's been.
His displays against Southend and Rochdale were a step in the right direction and you have to feel he's a goal away from beginning a climb up this list.
16 - Emyr Huws
First and foremost, it's great to see the Welshman back on the field and playing regularly. The sad reality is he wouldn't have featured in these rankings at all last season, given the fact he didn't play a single game.
He's made two league starts but completed back-to-back 90 minutes in the cups during the course of the last week, which is a massive achievement.
He's behind Skuse and Downes in the midfield pecking order and still has a way to go, but he's making progress. A potential climber for sure.
17 - Andre Dozzell
This young man has been under real scrutiny since bursting onto the scene as a 16-year-old three years ago, following in the footsteps of his famous father.
He clearly has bags of talent and can see passes and movements others can't, but he's not been able to deliver on a consistent basis or take games by the scruff of the neck and exert himself on opponents.
For that reason, he's been in-and-out of the side. His goal against Lincoln last weekend will help his cause, though.
As things stand he's out of contract at the end of the campaign. That will need sorting one way or another, but that's an issue for another day.
18 - Armando Dobra
Last year it was Jack Lankester, this year it's Armando Dobra who has burst onto the first-team scene.
He's on this list because of the 35 minutes he played at Accrington, which ended with a red card, but he's a fair way up it because of the promise he's shown in cup competitions.
He's exciting, hard-working, talented and direct - and that gets bums off seats.
He scored on his debut against Luton and ran the game against Tottenham's Under 21s, showcasing his potential.
It's a long old road ahead for Dobra, but the future appears to be bright.
19 - Anthony Georgiou
The Tottenham loanee has shown flashes of what he can do when coming off the bench and, after eight appearances as a substitute, finally earned starts against Lincoln and Colchester. He could well start against Lincoln again next week, but is it possible he's better suited to being an impact sub?
His loan is up in January and it remains to be seen whether that deal will be extended.
20 - Myles Kenlock
The academy product signed a new three-year contract in the summer and started the season as the first-choice left-back, starting the first seven league games and showing he can be a competent performer.
But now he finds himself out of the side and relying on cup competitions for minutes on the field.
He was solid enough in the two games with Lincoln and Colchester but appears to have work to do to force his way into the side, past Luke Garbutt.
21 - Will Keane
We've seen enough from Keane, during his spell on loan last season, to believe he can be a top end player in this league.
But we've not see it yet this term. He had no pre-season whatsoever, following his release from Hull at time when he had hamstring surgery and he's clearly still playing catch-up.
When he has played he's operated as a lone forward in the main, looking as isolated as so many Ipswich strikers have in that role in recent years. His finish against Gillingham was a reminder of his talent, as are the succession of neat flicks he's been able to make during games to bring others into play.
Ipswich need support for Jackson and Norwood in attack, so Keane's ability to provide that will decide whether he rises up these rankings.
22 - Idris El Mizouni
The young midfielder has made one league start, two further sub appearances and has played in all three of the Blues' EFL Trophy games.
His best display was on Tuesday night at Colchester, where we saw his desire to link play and break the lines while posing a threat from the edge of the box.
When everyone's fit (including Teddy Bishop, don't forget about him) there is a lot of traffic keeping El Mizouni from the first-team, so would a loan move in January benefit the one-cap Tunisia international?
23 - Janoi Donacien
It's been a tough old time for Janoi Donacien at Ipswich Town.
He spent the second half of last season back on loan at Accrington having dealt with work permit issues throughout the first, but was given a clean slate in the summer.
The signing of Vincent-Young has sent him down the pecking order, but it was the fact Edwards was selected to play at right-back ahead of him at Rochdale which highlighted just where the defender stands. It made you wonder whether his Ipswich career was over.
However, his response has been a good one with two decent displays in the two cup games of last week. He still faces an uphill climb to force his way into the league side, though.
24 - Jordan Roberts
The forward played an important role during the first month of Lambert's Ipswich reign, starting as a makeshift striker and doing the job manfully, but he's slipped away from regular action since.
He's made just one substitute appearance in the league this season, with those three minutes of added time making him eligible for this list, and you have to go back to August to find it.
He's been on the bench in the league just once since that appearance against Sunderland and has had to make do with cup football, scoring three times in the EFL Trophy and earning a nomination for the player-of-the-round award.
He's currently out with a toe injury and, with his Ipswich contract up next summer, he looks to have real work to do to earn a new one.
25 - Toto Nsiala
The central defender's season has been shaped by the hamstring problem he suffered in pre-season, during the club's tour of Germany.
Had he not picked up that injury, which kept him out until September, he would have started on opening day, Ipswich may well not have signed Wilson and he could easily be a regular in the side at this point.
As it is he's largely had to feed off cup scraps and, when his chance has come, he's not been able to take it.
He's given away two penalties and hasn't always convinced which, coupled with the excellent form of Chambers, Woolfenden and Wilson, is not a good combination for the former Shrewsbury man.
We know he can do it - he was imperious in the win over promotion-chasing Leeds on the final day of last season - so it's easy to imagine a scenario where Nsiala rises these rankings in the coming weeks.
That's the beauty of the Power Rankings system, but that's up to him to make it happen.