How have we ended up here? – Stuart Watson’s verdict on Ipswich Town’s January transfer business

Mick McCarthy, Mustapha Carayol, Stephen Gleeson, David McGoldrick and Cole Skuse are all out of con

Mick McCarthy, Mustapha Carayol, Stephen Gleeson, David McGoldrick and Cole Skuse are all out of contract in the summer. - Credit: Archant

And so, a pregnant pause between now and the end of the season.

Mustapha Carayol has joined Ipswich Town until the end of the season following his release by Nottin

Mustapha Carayol has joined Ipswich Town until the end of the season following his release by Nottingham Forest. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town used transfer deadline day to add another sticking plaster on the squad and send out a young prospect to develop elsewhere.

Much-travelled 29-year-old winger Mustapha Carayol signed on a free transfer from Championship rivals Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, joining recent additions Stephen Gleeson and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

All experienced, capable players with points to prove, but short-term fixes nevertheless. We’ve been here before of course with Toumani Diagouraga, Liam Feeney and Ben Pringle, to name but three.

Meanwhile, academy graduate Flynn Downes, the all-action midfielder who burst on the scene at the start of the campaign, departed for League Two leaders Luton Town on loan.


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The England U19 international will hopefully learn more from sampling the pressure of a promotion push than being a bit-part player in a Blues team meandering along. Many fans would have preferred to see him given the chance to blossom in front of their own eyes over the coming months though.

Marooned in mid-table and almost certainly set for a 17th successive season in the second-tier, here’s where the Blues are currently at:

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• A manager in Mick McCarthy who continually hints at a summer departure, but refuses to answer any questions about whether he wants to stay following five years in charge.

• Four loan players in the form of Dominic Iorfa, Carter-Vickers, Callum Connolly and Bersant Celina and a further six players in the final few months of their contracts in Cole Skuse, David McGoldrick, Luke Hyam, Teddy Bishop, Gleeson and Carayol.

• That’s 10 of a 25-man first-team squad all facing uncertain futures and eight of them are likely to get significant game-time over 17 effective dead rubbers.

Just how have we ended up here? Owner Marcus Evans has previously said that one of the big lessons he learned from his early years at the club was not letting player contracts run down.

McCarthy also said in the not so distant past that he didn’t want the club relying on loan players as it had done at the start of his tenure in 2012.

Yet there is still an overriding sense of a club treading water rather than slowly piecing together a jigsaw. The season ticket sales pitch is less than six weeks away and is going to be a very tough gig indeed.

Just what are Blues fans meant to be buying into? If there is to be a changing of the guard this summer, and a concerted effort to embrace the ‘five-point plan’, then that should be communicated to everyone as soon as possible.

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