Current state of play at Ipswich's League One promotion rivals

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney during the Sky Bet Championship match at Pride Park Stadium, Derby

Derby County boss Wayne Rooney could lose several key players if the club isn't taken over soon. - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town are among the early favourites for League One promotion next season. Here's the current state of play at their main rivals ahead of the transfer window opening on Friday.

DERBY COUNTY 

The Rams’ spirited attempt to overcome a 21-point deduction, issued for breaching financial rules, fell just short under the management of Wayne Rooney. Now they prepare to play third-tier football for the first time since 1985/86. 

East Midlands club have been in administration since September last year. It looked like a long-awaited takeover was close, until yesterday... 

BBC Radio Derby have reported that Chris Kirchner – the 34-year-old American businessman who was named as ‘preferred bidder’ on April 6 – looks set to fail in his attempts to close the deal. 

Just five players are contracted for next season. Rooney insists all of his players want to stay, but admits Derby are not in a position to counter any approaches made for the majority of his players who are out of contract - that includes captain Tom Lawrence. 

Peterborough United's Ronnie Edwards during the Sky Bet Championship match at The John Smith's Stadi

Peterborough have turned down a Premier League bid for teenage defender Ronnie Edwards. - Credit: PA

PETERBOROUGH UNITED 

Most Read

Peterborough were one of the big losers when the Covid-curtailed 2019/20 season was decided on a points-per-game method. ‘Operation Vengeance’ followed, but now Posh find themselves back in League One. 

Grant McCann, who replaced Darren Ferguson in the London Road hot-seat back in February, oversaw a strong finish to the relegation campaign. Now he is looking to remould his squad. 

Keeper David Cornell is among those who have been released, while Christy Pym, Mark Beevers, Jorge Grant, Ryan Broom and Idris Kanu have all been transfer-listed. 

Two keepers, two midfielders and an attacker are on the shopping list. Leicester midfielder Callum Wright, who spent last season on loan at Cheltenham, has been linked. 

Owner Darragh MacAnthony, responding to calls to permanently sign recent loanee Steven Benda from Swansea, says ‘spending money on a goalkeeper in League One is not sensible’. A loan player in that position looks likely. 

The big question is will Peterborough be able to keep hold of their key men?  

Barry Fry has confirmed that a bid, reported to be in excess of £2m, has been turned down for teenage defender Ronnie Edwards. A host of Premier League and Bundesliga clubs have been linked.   

Meanwhile, a price tag of £10m was slapped on midfielder Jack Taylor following reports of interest from Ipswich and Middlesbrough. 

Barnsley's Michal Helik applauds the fans after the final whistle following the Sky Bet Championship

Barnsley's Michal Helik applauds the fans after the final whistle following the Sky Bet Championship match at Oakwell Stadium, Barnsley. Picture date: Saturday March 12, 2022. - Credit: PA

BARNSLEY 

One year on from finishing in the play-offs, Barnsley finished bottom of the Championship. Can they bounce back at the first time of asking, as was the case in 2018/19?  

To say there is a lot of uncertainty at Oakwell right now is an understatement. 

They’ve been managerless for weeks now, Iranian Poya Asbaghi (the club’s sixth boss in five years) having departed following confirmation of relegation. 

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Burton) and Michael Duff (Cheltenham) have both had discussions about the vacancy. Hasselbaink yesterday announced he has decided to stay at the Pirelli Stadium.  

“We're down to the final five candidates,” said chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad, speaking at the end of last month. 

“There's no real delay, it's just there's due diligence and contractual obligations. 

“We want the person to be in place no later than 13 June, or in and around when pre-season starts.” 

Meanwhile, chairman Neerav Parekh has warned that the Tykes must sell players this summer to ‘bridge the shortfall’ in funding caused by relegation to League One. 

Midfielder Isaac Christie-Davies signed for Belgian side KAS Eupen for an undisclosed fee yesterday. 

Defender Michal Helik is likely to have plenty of suitors. Striker Cauley Woodrow has been linked to Ipswich. 

Sheffield Wednesday's Barry Bannan applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-fina

Sheffield Wednesday's Barry Bannan applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final, first leg match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. Picture date: Friday May 6, 2022. - Credit: PA

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 

“It’s going to be a busy few weeks at S6,” says the Sheffield Star. 

The Owls finished last season strongly before losing to Sunderland in the play-off semi-finals. 

Influential skipper Barry Bannan has vowed to stay on and spearhead a promotion push. But will others follow suit? 

The South Yorkshire club remain locked in talks with Jack Hunt, Massimo Luongo, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Joe Wildsmith about new deals. 

Argentine club Atlético Talleres have had two bids for forward Josh Windass rebuffed, while a host of Championship and League One clubs have reportedly shown interest in key striker Lee Gregory. 

Even if all the above stay, there are still plenty of gaps for Darren Moore to fill in his squad.  

Senior trio Saido Berahino, Sam Hutchinson and Chey Dunkley have been released, while seven loan players - Harlee Dean, Lewis Gibson, Tyreece John-Jules, Florian Kamberi, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Olamide Shodipo and Jordan Storey – have departed. 

Wednesday are reportedly showing interest in defender Jack Tucker (Gillingham). At the top end of the pitch, Mallik Wilks (Hull), Jayden Stockley (Charlton) and Michael Smith (Rotherham) have all been linked. 

Milton Keynes Dons' Scott Twine celebrates his third goal during the Sky Bet League One match at Hom

Milton Keynes Dons' Scott Twine celebrates his third goal during the Sky Bet League One match at Home Park, Plymouth. Picture date: Saturday April 30, 2022. - Credit: PA

MK DONS 

After finishing one point outside the top-two, and then losing to Wycombe in the play-off semis, will the Dons kick on or regress?  

Highly-rated young boss Liam Manning admitted he wants ‘to be the best I can be’ when asked about the speculation linking him to the vacant QPR job a few weeks ago.  

Might he be lured to the Championship, just as Russell Martin was last summer? Latest reports suggest he will stay at Stadium MK. 

Talismanic attacker Scott Twine will have plenty of suitors higher up the pyramid too following his 20-goal debut campaign.

Connor Wickham and Hiram Boateng have both been released, while Josh McEachran and David Kasumu remain in talks over new deals. 

Veteran defender Dean Lewington has announced he is staying on for a 19th season at the club. 

Striker Matthew Dennis has been signed from Norwich for an undisclosed fee. The 20-year-old enjoyed a productive loan spell at Southend recently. 

“For the first time in many years, Dons have a decent-sized warchest to flex their muscles in the market,” writes the Milton Keynes Citizen. 

“The sales of Matt O’Riley, Andrew Fisher and Scott Fraser over the last 12 months, compensation for former boss Russell Martin and potential cash bonuses from Dele Alli’s move and Rhys Healey’s promotion with Toulouse all give an extra bit of leverage. 

“It makes this summer the most intriguing for Dons fans in years. The potential to build a team capable of competing in League One and futureproofing for the Championship makes for a mouth-watering proposition.” 

Wycombe Wanderers' Adebayo Akinfenwa warming up before the Sky Bet League One play-off final at Wemb

Wycombe Wanderers' Adebayo Akinfenwa warming up before the Sky Bet League One play-off final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday May 21, 2022. - Credit: PA

WYCOMBE WANDERERS 

Long-serving manager Gareth Ainsworth has been linked to the vacant roles at Championship clubs QPR and Blackburn. 

Speaking after his side lost the League One Play-Off Final to Sunderland, he said he planned to stay at Adams Park ‘as long as people are happy with me’. 

Veteran striker Adebayo Akinfenwa has retired, with Ainsworth saying it will be ‘impossible’ to fill his boots. 

Defender Ryan Tafazolli is said to be a target of Middlesbrough’s. 

Joe Jacobson, Dominic Gape, Anthony Stewart and Lewis Wing all remain in talks about new deals. 

Brighton midfielder Marc Leonard, a Scottish youth international, has been linked.  

Oxford United's Elliott Moore celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Caraba

Oxford United's Elliott Moore celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Carabao Cup, Third Round match at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford. - Credit: PA

OXFORD UNITED 

After overseeing League One finishes of fourth, sixth and eighth, manager Karl Robinson is also among those who have been linked to the vacant QPR job. 

“It’s always nice that people talk about you, but I’ve never been motivated by some of the things people think I am,” he told the Oxford Mail. 

Captain Elliott Moore, who was linked to Bristol City, and Alex Gorrin have both penned new deals. 

The U’s look light in both the centre-half and full-back positions. 

Plymouth Argyle's Panutche Camara appears dejected after a missed chance during the Emirates FA Cup

Plymouth Argyle's Panutche Camara appears dejected after a missed chance during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: Saturday January 23, 2021. - Credit: PA

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 

The Pilgrims were in the promotion mix all season, but slipped out the play-off places after winning just one of their last six games. How will they respond to that disappointment? 

Key midfielder Panutche Camara has been put up for sale after refusing to sign a new contract. 

Keeper Michael Cooper, one of the best in the division, has been linked to Norwich. 

Chief executive Andrew Parkinson has said there is ‘a lot going on in the background’ over potential new recruits to Steven Schumacher's first team squad. 

"We haven't got the biggest budget in the league, but we have got a bigger budget than we had last year,” he added. 

Bolton Wanderers' Ricardo Santos during the Sky Bet League One match at the University of Bolton Sta

Bolton Wanderers' Ricardo Santos during the Sky Bet League One match at the University of Bolton Stadium, UK. Picture date: Tuesday February 8, 2022. - Credit: PA

BOLTON WANDERERS 

After guiding Bolton to League Two promotion and then a ninth-place finish in League One, manager Ian Evatt has been strongly linked to the vacant managerial role at Lancashire neighbours Blackpool. 

The Bolton News says they expect Evatt to stay, reporting: “Evatt feels confident he will get the financial backing to get the club promoted AND to compete in the division above.” 

Skipper Ricardo Santos has signed a new three-year deal. 

“There's been lots of interest (in him) so it shows that we mean business, we are doing the right things and can keep our best players,” said Evatt. 

Left-back Jack Iredale has been signed after he rejected a new contract at Cambridge United. 

The Trotters are keen to sign right wing-back Marlon Fossey permanently, following an impressive loan spell from Fulham, but face competition for his signature from Championship clubs. 

It also remains to be seen if goalkeeper James Trafford will return on loan from Manchester City. 

Cardiff striker James Collins and released Preston winger Tom Barkhuizen are among those who have been linked. 

Portsmouth's Marcus Harness during the Sky Bet League One match at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shr

Portsmouth's Marcus Harness during the Sky Bet League One match at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, Shrewsbury. Picture date: Saturday March 27, 2021. - Credit: PA

PORTSMOUTH 

Fans’ favourite Michael Jacobs has penned a new deal at Fratton Park, but it remains to be seen if striker Aiden O’Brien does the same. He says he has ‘other offers to consider’. 

Key man Marcus Harness is reportedly a target of Championship club Swansea. 

There are some important loan players - Gavin Bazunu, Hayden Carter, George Hirst, Mahlon Romeo and Tyler Walker – to replace. 

Notts County’s 6ft 4in striker Kyle Wootton and Cardiff midfielder Marlon Pack (who started out at Portsmouth) are among those who have been linked. 

“We’re working hard behind the scenes to improve the squad and have clarity over what we need to do,” said manager Danny Cowley. 

“We have to make signings that can offer us quality on the pitch as well as plenty of fight and determination." 

Swindon Town manager Ben Garner applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League Two match at the Banks's

Swindon Town manager Ben Garner applauds the fans after the Sky Bet League Two match at the Banks's Stadium, Walsall. Picture date: Saturday May 7, 2022. - Credit: PA

CHARLTON ATHLETIC 

Johnnie Jackson was sacked following the Addicks’ 13th-place finish. Yesterday, he was replaced by Ben Garner – the man who led a swashbuckling Swindon side to the League Two play-offs last season. 

“Attacking football is what I believe in, that is how I think football should be played and I will be looking to implement that from day one, both home and away,” he said. 

A squad rebuild is required at The Valley after experienced players Jason Pearce (offered coaching role), Chris Gunter, Conor Washington, Adam Matthews, Ben Watson, Pape Souare and Stephen Henderson were all released. 

It remains to be seen if Ben Purrington signs a new deal, while 20-goal topscorer Jayden Stockley is attracting interest. 

Owner Thomas Sandgaard, whose son Martin is ‘director of analysis’, said back in March: “I would expect somewhere between two to four, maybe five, major signings. Then on the loan side, still be in the situation where we’ll probably be trying to fill it up with fairly inexpensive but high-quality loan players. 

“It might be that one of those major signings is a very experienced player. Most of them will be looking to the future, on three or four-year contracts.”