Ipswich Town stars back at work

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy - Credit: Andrew Partridge

The hard work starts here.

Mick McCarthy and his players officially return to training at Playford Road this morning, with just under seven weeks to go until the Blues’ Championship curtain-raiser at Reading.

New signings David McGoldrick, Daryl Murphy and Jay Tabb will be three familiar faces returning to the fold, while Cole Skuse will be looking to make an impact following his signing from Bristol City.

Town’s players have been given strict training regimes to follow over the summer and were assessed by fitness coach Andy Liddell on Friday. They will be expected to hit the ground running under the watchful eyes of McCarthy and his assistant, Terry Connor.

McCarthy and his trusted backroom team will also be working just as hard away from the training pitch too as he plots Town’s path towards the top-six.

A number of players have been linked with moves to Suffolk and with the Blues still short of numbers, having released Lee Martin, Andy Drury, Arran Lee-Barrett and told Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Michael Chopra they are free to find new clubs, McCarthy will be keen to add to his ranks.

We understand Wycombe winger Joel Grant and former Rangers and Blackpool defender Kirk Broadfoot are close to making permanent switches to Portman Road, while McCarthy is keen on Wolves skipper Karl Henry, defender, Richard Stearman and former Molineux striker, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

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Expect plenty of twists and turns over the next 40 days, with friendly matches at Shelbourne, Crawley, Chippenham, Gillingham, Barnet and Colchester thrown into the mix, before the Royals post the Blues’ first big challenge.

n See tomorrow’s EADT for a two-page pre-season picture special, plus an interview with Blues’ boss, Mick McCarthy