Sunday Snap: The Ipswich Town pre-season awards 2019
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town’s pre-season is in the books and the real football is just a few days away. ANDY WARREN hands out some awards following an intriguing summer.
Much of Ipswich Town's pre-season has been dogged by injuries, which at various points has seen more than 10 players sidelined.
But there is one massive positive when it comes to the treatment room - Emyr Huws is no longer camped in it.
The Welshman, who has not completed 90 minutes in a competitive game since May 2017, is back and looks like he means business.
You may also want to watch:
He's featured on all five matchdays during pre-season, has totalled 240 minutes of action in a three-week period and played the entirety of Town's game against Notts County on Tuesday.
He's looked good with and without the ball and, for the first time in 18 months, has offered genuine hope of a competitive return.
- 1 Lorry driver hailed as hero after truck crushed in port accident
- 2 Woodbridge bar owner to fight £1,000 fine for Covid rule breach
- 3 A12 closed following serious collision
- 4 Former Town defender could be in the frame to become Cook's No.2 after Richardson blow
- 5 Man taken to hospital after 40ft container drops on lorry cab
- 6 Cage fighter Alex Reid jailed after OUR story exposes lie in insurance claim
- 7 Woman in critical condition and man arrested after serious A12 crash
- 8 Missing dad wanted in connection with assault which happened day before he disappeared
- 9 Ipswich Debenhams to close on May 4 after the building is sold
- 10 Air ambulance called to medical emergency
He's likely to be involved at Burton on the opening day and, while that may be from the bench, is the real positive story of this pre-season.
James Norwood's Ipswich Town impact has been instant.
He's at the centre of everything that goes on at the club's training ground, is clearly a good influence on the squad and has started quickly on the field too.
He was on target within four minutes of his first appearance against Fortuna Dusseldorf and scored a hat-trick in front of more than 2,000 travelling fans in Colchester.
He's a goalscorer, that's for sure, but he's shown he's more than that too. His quick, one-touch lay-offs, tenacity and ability to hold the ball up are all elements missing from the Ipswich attack last season.
The weight of expectation is firmly on his shoulders but it's a burden the striker says he relishes.
Now it's time to deliver when the real stuff starts.
The 'Remember Me' award
The reset button was pushed at Ipswich Town this summer, with a number of individuals hoping to benefit from a fresh start.
Danny Rowe has certainly taken that chance.
He had become something of a forgotten man, loaned out twice to Lincoln in the last two seasons by two different managers. But now he's back and has made an impact.
He's benefited from injuries to Jack Lankester and Gwion Edwards but has still taken his chance, offering hustle, bustle, quick footwork and drive from the right flank.
Whether he starts at Burton remains to be seen, but he's certainly put himself in position.
Just a quick note for Bailey Clements and Armando Dobra.
What a summer it must have been for the young duo. They only won their first professional contracts during last season but were handed the call for the pre-season trip to Germany and were involved right until the final dress rehearsal at Cambridge.
They are raw and have plenty to learn but both showed real upside.
Injuries to key men no doubt played a part in ensuring their continued involvement and their roles will no doubt lessen as those players return, but their work this summer is a real positive.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder award
This wouldn't be a pre-season review if the club's injuries weren't noted.
First-teamers Gwion Edwards (groin), Jon Nolan (calf), Jordan Roberts (knock), Teddy Bishop (knee), Toto Nsiala (hamstring), Tristan Nydam (ankle), Jack Lankester (back) and Freddie Sears (knee) are all currently sidelined.
They are all missed with the majority of that list likely starters if full fit. That's some cast of potential returnees waiting in the wings.
The scaling new heights award
When discussing new Ipswich Town goalkeeper Tomas Holy it feels mandatory to also mention the fact he stands 6ft 9inches tall. I'm sure you are already aware of that.
Norwood has already banned the Czech from standing next to him due to the fact it 'makes me look short' while the club's release of their team picture on Thursday highlights just how many members of the squad he towers over.
His height has helped Holy claim high balls superbly during pre-season, but it does have its drawbacks.
A small video clip released by Cambridge on Saturday shows the keeper crouching simply to walk through the Abbey Stadium's corridors, towering over Rowe.
The struggle is real.
The numbers game award
Ipswich lined up in the classic 1-11 shirts at Cambridge with one notable exception.
Andre Dozzell wore No.12, with captain Luke Chambers retaining his No.4 jersey despite being on the bench.
The skipper pulled rank on this one. Nobody steps on his turf.
It's not quite CR7, but LC4 is an Ipswich Town institution.
'He's got a pineapple on his head' - it's a classic.
But that was the tip of the iceberg when it came to Ipswich Town's fun and games with Cambridge defender Leon Davies and his tropical fruit-inspired haircut.
He became a figure of fun with the travelling supporters as he warmed up in front of them during the first half, with 'Your barber doesn't like you' a particular highlight.
Norwood will be hoping to pick up the mid-season award in this category, as long as his much-discussed hair transplant is a success.
There's only one winner here.
Toto Nsiala's skills on the piano came to light during the trip to Germany and was certainly a surprise.
However, there are even more strings to his bow.
"He plays piano, he sings a little bit and he backs himself as a tennis player," said Norwood.
He's also a pretty good defender and will be missed while sidelined for the next month.
Best costume design
There is certainly an eclectic dress sense within the Ipswich Town squad.
Goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski comes off less than favourably whenever players are asked for the squad's worst-dressed player, though even the Pole's choice in clothing can't 'top' the red velvet tracksuit regularly favoured by former Ipswich striker Daryl Murphy.
But the real fashion statements this summer have come in the headwear department.
Manager Paul Lambert's new liking for baseball caps has caused a stir, with striker Norwood attempting to challenge his manager at the club's Open Day by strapping a cone to his head.
Lambert takes the honours in this department, channelling his inner-Pulis, with Norwood a close second.
This isn't an award, more of a suggestion.
Chambers has hinted that his fist pumps have been temporarily retired until the Blues' position is deserving of them, so he's an idea for a replacement.
If Lambert's cap (available for £20 in the club shop) is truly to become iconic, it needs to be thrown into the crowd after every Ipswich win by the Town boss.
It will of course also need its own Twitter account.