Mark Heath: The Town players Cook should keep and release today
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town's out-of-contract players will find out today if they have a future at the club. Mark Heath says who he thinks should stay and go as the star spangled revolution gets underway.
Of the 13 first teamers who are out of contract this summer, we already know two who definitely won't be returning.
Midfielder Alan Judge was told he would be leaving last month, a clause in his contract meaning that a new deal would be triggered if he made one more start.
And veteran Stephen Ward followed him out the door last week, again due to a contract clause, making his stay at Portman Road a short stop.
The biggest decision - whatever happens to the stalwart skipper, a brilliant servant to the club for years and leader of men, will set the tone for the summer.
Chambers certainly still has something to offer as a player, and Paul Cook has already said that there will be something on the table for him this summer.
That would be a reduced role though, and does Chambers, who turns 36 next season, want to curtail his playing days just yet? He's already been linked to Colchester United.
For me, I think it's time to say goodbye - Town need a hard reset this summer, and I don't think that's possible with Chambers, the dressing room alpha male, still at the club.
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Chambers' partner in crime and fellow leader, the veteran midfielder has barely played this season due to injury problems.
He's another who's been linked to Colchester, and that makes sense for me - Skuse could still do a job at that level, plus keep his coaching role at St Joseph's College in Ipswich.
Indeed, I could see Chambers and Skuse starting their management careers down the A12 - and perhaps even coming back to Portman Road one day.
For now, it's time to go.
What a turn around for Toto. It looked for all the world that his Town career was over last summer, yet he stayed and has played 30 times for the Blues in 2020/21.
Yes, he still has an error or a rash challenge in him, but I think Nsiala is a decent defender at League One level - fast, powerful and more than capable of getting stuck in when required.
Town's new player of the year many have only played 18 games this season, but he's been a calm hand on the tiller when he's appeared, often alongside Nsiala.
Like Toto, I think Wilson's more than good enough to start and succeed at this level - he's got pace, power and a quiet assuredness which you like to see from your centre-halves.
The versatile defender was back at Portman Road yesterday as part of his loan move to Fleetwood, having played 19 games for the Cod Army since January.
Donacien has never really had a fair shake at Town - ex-boss Paul Lambert was not a fan - but I think he's a perfectly adequate back-up across the defensive positions, and you'd only be looking for a replacement in that role if he departed.
The mercurial midfielder has largely put his persistent injury problems behind him this season, playing 38 times and scoring four goals.
There will be concerns about where he fits in the 4-2-3-1 system that Cook is wedded to, but for me he's the sort of player who has the potential to shine at League One level and above.
This is an easy one. The 27-year-old, who electrified Town in his loan spell back in 2017 before signing a four-year deal, hasn't been seen since the dreadful 3-2 home loss to Swindon back in January.
He'll be leaving.
Welsh winger Edwards is an anomaly on this list in that Town don't have an option to take on his contract, so he'd need a new deal.
Started the season like his shorts were on fire, scoring five goals in nine games, before tailing off and eventually going viral on social media for the wrong reason - some awful set pieces against Wimbledon.
I think he has something to offer - as long as he's not too expensive.
Another easy decision. We'll never know what sort of Town career Sears could have had, if he hadn't been pushed out to the wing and deprived of all confidence after that brilliant start at Portman Road.
But one thing is sure - his Blues' career is over now. Could well be set to join the Town old boys' reunion at former club Colchester.
When we first had this discussion on the Kings of Anglia podcast, I was very much in the keep Kayden camp, citing his pace and original fee as reasons to stick with him.
I've changed my mind though, mainly because I can't see how he fits in Cook's system. A fresh start would probably be good for him too - and free up more spots for new strikers.
It's no secret that I've always been a big fan of Drinan. His journey to the first team was a remarkable one, culminating in that world-class goal at Crewe. You just don't stop those.
He works hard, brings physicality to the pitch and links up play. Sadly though, he just doesn't score - and that's a problem for a striker.
I still think he can go and have a decent career at a lower level, but I'm afraid his time at Town is over.