Harper and El Mizouni made available for loan

Rekeem Harper should start for Ipswich Town against Colchester United

Rekeem Harper has been made available for loan by Ipswich Town. - Credit: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna has revealed that young midfielders Rekeem Harper and Idris El Mizouni have both been made available for loan.

The arrival of Tyreeq Bakinson on loan from Bristol City yesterday means Town now have seven central midfield options in Sam Morsy, Lee Evans, Bakinson, Scott Fraser, Tom Carroll, Harper and El Mizouni, as well as long-term injury victim Jon Nolan.

Harper, a £500k signing from West Brom last summer, hasn't started a league game since the 5-2 home loss to Bolton back on September 11, while academy graduate El Mizouni has found his opportunities limited since starting league games against Sheffield Wednesday and Cambridge United earlier in the campaign. 

Asked if any midfielders might move on before the January window shuts, McKenna said: "Yeah, that's something we've looked at. 

"We've got a couple of young midfielders here, or relatively young, in Idris (21) and Rekeem (21). We think they are really good talents, have got a future at the club, we want them to be part of our plans going forward and we want then to be here in pre-season competing for places and showing what they can do and trying to find a way into the team.

"Both of them are probably at the stage where they haven't played as much football as what they would have liked to this year. 

"Idris is still trying to work his way into senior football but is a great personality, a hungry boy who works hard in training and I'm sure he's going to be a very good player.

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"Rekeem is obviously someone whose had good exposure at an early age at West Brom. Again, a real talent, has really good ingredients but hasn't had a real run of games over the course of his career so far. He hasn't had six, seven, eight league games in a row.

"So we've had conversations with both of them and discussed the plans and pathway for them over the longer term. Part of that was that we think it would be a good option for them to go somewhere else and get regular games until the end of the season.

Idris El Mizouni on the ball against Barrow.

Idris El Mizouni has had previous loan spells in League Two with Cambridge United and Grimsby Town. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

"It's about them going and and gaining experience and confidence and exposure and putting themselves in a better position going into next year.

"That's something we're working on as a club. It needs to be the right fit for both of them. If that doesn't happen then I'm delighted to have them both here. They will both remain part of the squad and compete for places and train and develop.

"Those are just two examples of pathways we have looked at. We have to make sure we are covered and have the right depth for the rest of the season, but it's also important we don't block players' pathways who we see as part of our plans going forwards.

"We have Tom Carroll here who's a really talented player who I know from my time at Tottenham. He's had some injury issues this year, but is working his way back to full sharpness. He's getting better and better with every training session and gives us a different type of option.

"So, yeah, we're well stocked." 

Asked what sort of level of loan he'd liked to get the duo, the Blues boss said: "I think the level is not as important to me as it being the right club and the right fit, to be honest. I think it's more about it being the right fit for their development in terms of the playing style, the manager, the opportunity to play. 

"It's not always easy to find those right opportunities, but with two boys as talented as them we feel we can find the right fit for their development."

Toto Nsiala (sold to Fleetwood) and Myles Kenlock (loaned to Colchester) have already departed the club this month. McKenna has suggested that Tomas Holy and Jon Nolan, who are both out of contract in the summer, could soon move on too.

On long-term injury absentee Nolan, he said: "He needs to get match fit first of all and then he can look for the opportunity to get himself some games and build his career."

On Holy, who has been linked with a move to League Two side Bradford, he added: "Yes, there has been interest. Tomas is at an age where he wants to play, he's a very competitive man. I think if an opportunity for him comes up then we'll try and support him with that. In Christian (Walton) and Vas (Vaclav Hladky) we have two very good goalkeepers and we have some young goalkeepers behind that as well for cover.

Asked if there was likely to be any more additions over the next 10 days, the Blues boss said: "We'll keep working away diligently. It's about improving the depth and the balance of the squad. We feel we've done that with Christian (Walton) and Macauley (Bonne) being secured and with Tyreeq (Bakinson)  coming in. There are other positions we are looking at and the club are working hard behind the scenes on that. If the right thing can be done we'll certainly try and do it."