The transfer window is shut - so are Town better, and who will play?
- Credit: Archant
The summer transfer window has closed after a remarkable few weeks of change at Ipswich Town. Mark Heath looks at all the ins and outs and assesses the squad Paul Cook has built.
In: Christian Walton (Brighton, loan), Vaclav Hladky (Salford, undisclosed).
Out: David Cornell (contract terminated, joined Peterborough), Adam Przybek (Wycombe, free), Harry Wright (Fleetwood, free).
Verdict: This seemed to be a position which was sorted earlier in the summer with the arrival of highly-rated lower league custodian Hladky from Salford.
But he's looked far from steady in his first five games in Blue as Town have conceded 10 goals, many of which he'll have hoped to do better with.
Enter Christian Walton, on loan from Premier League Brighton, a man who played two seasons under Cook at Wigan, earning promotion in the process.
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He looks to be the new starter between the sticks, with Hladky taking a spot on the bench to think about his beginning to life at Portman Road. It seems very unlikely we'll see Tomas Holy again.
In: Matt Penney (Sheff Weds, free), George Edmundson (Rangers, undisc), Hayden Coulson (Middlesbrough, loan), Cameron Burgess (Accrington Stanley, undisc).
Out: Luke Chambers (Colchester, free), James Wilson (Plymouth, free), Stephen Ward (Walsall, free), Corrie Ndaba (Salford, loan).
Verdict: Town's defence, in terms of goals conceded, wasn't the problem at Portman Road last season - but it was getting old.
The departure of club icon Chambers was a huge statement, with player of the season Wilson also allowed to leave, along with veteran Ward, who quickly fizzled out after a good start.
In their places are bigger, stronger, younger models. Burgess and Edmundson figure to be the starters in the centre once the latter is fully fit - and you'd think he would be in time for the Bolton clash a week on Saturday.
Flying full-backs Coulson and Kane Vincent-Young are a mouth-watering prospect at left and right back respectively, with the likes of Penney, Luke Woolfenden, Toto Nsiala and Janoi Donacien offering capable back-up and pushing the starters.
The unit may not have started in spectacular style, but on paper the new personnel are a big improvement.
In: Lee Evans (Wigan, free) Rekeem Harper (West Brom, undisc), Tom Carroll (QPR, free), Sam Morsy (Middlesbrough, undisc).
Out: Andre Dozzell (QPR, £1m), Flynn Downes (Swansea City, £1.5m), Cole Skuse (Colchester, free), Teddy Bishop (Lincoln, undisc), Emyr Huws, Tristan Nydam (both released), Liam Gibbs (Norwich City, undisc), Brett McGavin (King's Lynn, loan).
Verdict: The area of the pitch left most unbalanced by the comings and goings, with eight outgoings and just four coming in.
Included in the outgoings were some of the real crown jewels too - Dozzell, Downes and Bishop will likely all go on to good careers in the game.
New faces Evans and Harper looked to be a nailed-on every game pairing, but skipper Evans in particular has struggled for form in the opening fixtures.
While Harper has largely been class, the team have lacked a box-to-box destroyer, disrupter, high-energy type midfielder - a Flynn Downes, if you will.
Tom Carroll isn't that, but will add Premier League quality when fit. Morsy though, the last signing of the window tonight, could well fill that role, replace Evans in the starting line-up and replace him as skipper too, given he's also been a captain for Cook in the past.
Can Jon Nolan force his way back into the reckoning? It looks a long shot right now.
In: Wes Burns (Fleetwood, undisc), Macauley Bonne (QPR, loan), Joe Pigott (AFC Wimbledon, free), Scott Fraser (MK Dons, undisc), Conor Chaplin (Barnsley, undisc), Louie Barry (Aston Villa, loan), Sone Aluko (Reading, free), Kyle Edwards (West Brom, free), Bersant Celina (Dijon, loan).
Out: Gwion Edwards (Wigan, free), Freddie Sears (Colchester, free), Alan Judge (Colchester, free), Oli Hawkins (Mansfield, undisc), Jack Lankester (Cambridge Utd, undisc), Aaron Drinan (Leyton Orient, undisc), Tyreece Simpson (Swindon, loan), Armando Dobra (Colchester, loan).
Verdict: Holy moly. Of all the positions on the pitch, the attacking options are the ones which stand out after the summer signing frenzy.
Edwards already looks to be a star in the making, Celina figures to be different gravy at this level and the likes of Chaplin, Pigott, Fraser and Bonne all either made the decision to drop down a league or eschew interest from the Championship to join the Town rebuild.
The biggest issue here is finding the right blend of weaponry to blow League One apart - and keeping those who aren't playing, and in some cases won't even make the bench, happy.
Allow yourself to consider, for a second, a front four of Bonne, Edwards, Celina and Fraser - and all the options which would still be on the bench. Don't forget James Norwood too!
A terrifying prospect for the rest of the league.
After a transfer window the likes of which we'll probably never see again in Suffolk, Town are better all over the pitch.
The strength in depth, particularly up top, is as staggering as it will be bewildering for the rest of League One. Midfield, perhaps, remains a cause for concern until proven otherwise.
But Paul Cook has been backed to the hilt by Ashton and the new owners. His squad will be the envy of the league - and it's unquestionably his squad.
He must now be given time to get the blend right - history suggests he will.