McKenna: 'Borderline impossible to get out this division with our set play record'

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says his full focus on finishing this season as strongly as possible. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says his team must start scoring more goals from set-pieces if they are to achieve promotion to the Championship.

The Blues' last goal from a dead ball situation was in the 1-0 home win against Wycombe, on December 29, when James Norwood finished off a move which originated from a quick throw-in.

You then have to go back to the 2-1 defeat at Plymouth, back in late October, for the the last time a goal was scored at a corner - George Edmundson heading home at the second phase of the dead ball delivery. 

“You’re right to address it - it’s something that we’re very aware of," said McKenna, speaking at Tuesday night's Fans' Forum.

“It’s 16 games that we haven’t scored from one and I would say it’s borderline impossible to get out of this division with that record on set plays.

James Norwood fires home to give Town the lead.

James Norwood's winner against Wycombe came following a quickly taken Ipswich Town throw. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“Around 25% of goals usually come from set plays and I believe in this division it’s even higher.

“In a way I see it as a positive that we’ve been able to get the results we have without scoring set plays.

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"If we can add that to our artillery then I think we can be a different threat as a team. It’s something we need to work on.

“I am going to add to the coaching staff over the summer. It will also be part of our recruitment bringing in players who can help us become a more dangerous team on the attacking set plays and more solid on defensive set plays."

George Edmundson gives Ipswich the lead at Home Park.

George Edmundson heads home at Plymouth last October - the last time Ipswich scored from a corner. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Meanwhile, the Blues boss, whose side host Cambridge United tomorrow, says he'll continue to be flexible regarding formations and tactics.

Asked if he was wedded to a 3-4-3 system, the Northern Irishman said: “I think we’ll continue to have that variation as we have done. I said from my first interview I’m not a believer in a set system, I don’t talk to players about numbers.

“Even as we work on a day-to-day basis I very rarely talk about 3-4-2-1, 4-2-3-1. We talk about roles or responsibilities, we talk about spaces on the pitch that we want to exploit and my belief is that we fit in the qualities of our players around the principles of how we want to play.

“We’ve used a lot of different variations in the 17 games that I’ve been here. Obviously part of that has been Wes Burns playing in a wing-back role with Janoi (Donacien) behind him all of the time in the games so far.

“But on the other hand, there are lots of moments in the game where it doesn’t look like a back five. It’s very much a hybrid system we’re using at the moment that’s about trying to get the best attributes out of the players that we have.

“As the squad develops over time we’ll look at the qualities of the players that we have and how we fit them best into a system. It's about adapting that game to game to come up with plans that we think will be suitable for each opponent."