'It's always my final decision' - McKenna on transfer policy

Ipswich Town have signed Tyreeq Bakinson on loan from Bristol City

Ipswich Town have signed Tyreeq Bakinson on loan from Bristol City - Credit: ITFC

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna insists he has the final say on all of the club's signings following the addition of Tyreeq Bakinson on loan from Bristol City.

Bakinson is reunited with Mark Ashton at Portman Road, the Blues chief executive having been the one who signed the young midfielder at Ashton Gate back in 2017.

McKenna suggested earlier this month that the club had been working on some transfers before he arrived as manager back on December 16. Asked if Bakinson fell into that bracket, and if he is the one who has the final say on signings, the Blues boss replied: “Absolutely, of course. Anyone who comes in the building it’s going to be my final decision on it. 

“It wasn’t that the wheels were already in motion with Tyreeq, but he’s obviously very well known to different people throughout the club. 

“I’ve seen Tyreeq play before, but the staff here were able to fill in a lot of the detail on what he’s like as a person. 

“He’s someone who the club like, who the recruitment team like, but also someone who I like and who fits the profile of the type of player I want to bring to the squad. 

“We think this works on a lot of different levels."

Ipswich Manager Kieran McKenna at Gillingham.

Ipswich Manager Kieran McKenna at Gillingham. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

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Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson has said he is 'not bothered' to see Bakinson go, adding: "He's a player who unfortunately just wants to play on his own terms. I'm not wasting energy on negativity."

Asked what he made of those comments, McKenna said: "Obviously I can’t speak too much about what’s happened at Bristol or what Nigel’s relationship was with Tyreeq. I can only go off what I know and the people I’ve spoken to.

"A lot of the staff here have worked with him at Bristol City and they all speak very highly of him as a person; good family, good upbringing, good boy, respectful, wants to work, wants to learn... So I’ve had enough good references to be very comfortable on that side of it. 

“I’ve met him this morning and that only confirms that thought in terms of my first impressions of him."

Asked where what sort of role in the side he sees Bakinson playing, McKenna replied: “He’s very versatile. He’s played in different midfield roles - as a six by himself, he’s played in a double pivot and he’s played higher up in a three – so that gives us good options. 

“We want to be flexible as a team and be able to play in different ways with different balance. He gives us more options. 

“Like all our players we’ll look for the best way to fit him on the pitch and the best combinations for any given game."

Incoming manager Kieran McKenna speaking with Ipswich Towns Chief Executive Officer Mark Ashton duri

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna speaking with chief executive Mark Ashton. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Town will have the option to buy Bakinson when his loan expires at the end of the season, with his current deal at Ashton Gate due to expire in 2023.

“There is that option to buy and that’s something we are keen on as a club if possible," said McKenna. "As I’ve said all along, we want to get the short-term right and be as strong as we can for the rest of the season, but we’ve also got an eye on the longer-term. So we want players who come here to fit into a vision.

“It’s nice to have him here for the rest of the season, but also nice to have the option to buy him after that if it’s the right move. 

"Obviously it’s up to him to go and show what he can do."

Town host Accrington Stanley at Portman Road in a League One clash. Asked if Bakinson could make his debut, McKenna said: “No, not this weekend. He’s only just travelled up yesterday evening and met the players for the first time today. 

“We’d like him to watch the game tomorrow, get familiar with his surroundings and get a couple of training sessions under his belt over the next few days and then he’ll come into our plans after that (Town travel to AFC Wimbledon next Tuesday and then Sheffield Wednesday next Saturday)."