'Too many men can cause a problem' - Ashton says quality, not quantity, is key in Town's squad rebuild

Wes Burns and Mark Ashton

Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton with the club's first signing of the summer Wes Burns - Credit: Ipswich Town

New Ipswich Town CEO Mark Ashton insists it will be a case of quality over quantity as he goes about rebuilding the Blues' squad for a promotion push next season.

Town's new chief only started in his new role last week, but has already made good on his promise to start making signings, bringing in Wes Burns from Fleetwood, and persuading Lee Evans to make the switch to Suffolk rather than inking a new deal at Wigan.

It's the start of a summer like no other at Portman Road, with a huge turnover of playing staff expected. Stalwarts Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse have already left, with many of the first team squad understood to have been told they too can find new clubs.

Ipswich Town's new CEO, Mark Ashton

Mark Ashton says it will be a case of quality over quantity in terms of signings for Town - Credit: Ross Halls

Asked if Town will work with a smaller squad in 2021/22, Ashton replied: "Yes, and Paul's clear on that - too many men can cause a problem.

"We've got to get the right amount of players and we've got to make sure that they're resilient enough to see the season through.

"There's a lot of clubs that you speak to, because of the pandemic and the rate of games over the past 12 months, that have really suffered with injuries.

"That's one of the reasons that Andy Rolls and Andy Costin have been brought in to sports science, to make sure that, one, we recruit players that can physically do what Paul Cook wants, and two, when they're here, we can adapt and develop them to do what we want them to do."

Ipswich Town Manager Paul Cook at Swindon Town

Paul Cook looks likely to have a very different squad to manage next season - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ashton is expecting a transfer window the likes of which has never been seen before, with the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic making a huge impact on what clubs can and will spend.

For that reason, he says they will carefully look at every player in the current squad to determine what's the best course of action for the club.

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He explained: "We'll assess every player on an individual basis. I've already started that process with Paul and we're in a really interesting transfer market.

"I've never had one like this in 30 years, the pandemic has caused a very depressed market, where clubs will trade players because they haven't got the money they've had historically to spend.

"We'll step through it player by player and if there's a deal on the table that's the right thing for this football club then we'll do it and, if it's not the right thing at the right time, then we won't do it.

"But let's be really clear, what will come first with regards to Paul is to put a team together for him that wins games come August."

Wes Burns signs for Ipswich

Forward Wes Burns has become Ipswich Town's first summer signing - Credit: Ipswich Town

And he stressed that there are players who pulled a Town shirt on last season who still very much have a key role to play in the future of the club.

"Yeah, for sure", Ashton responded, when asked if there were players already at Portman Road whom Paul Cook wants to build around.

"It's very fluid, and there are a number of players in there that he's said to me 'I want those here.'

"But with every player you can never say never. I've learned that before. The key piece is to assemble a team, and a team that work and perform in a way Paul's shape is and he wants them to perform.

"That's really key, and assembling those pieces of the jigsaw in the right way, that over a 40-game season can deliver success, is going to be absolutely key.

Lee Evans signs for Ipswich Town

Welsh midfielder Lee Evans has signed a three-year deal at Ipswich Town - Credit: ITFC

"It's not necessarily how we perform from the first game of the season, it's when we get to February and we're away on a Tuesday night, can we still get results?

"They've got to be able to handle going to Sunderland, going to Portsmouth, and they've got to be handle playing here at home - as fans come back, there's going to be expectation here.

"But we will work together, and we've got a really good staff who will bring energy and focus, they're real professionals.

"We've just got to get started."