'We are hopeful that we will be able to add one or two' - O'Neill on January transfer plans

Manager Paul Lambert and general manager Lee O'Neill have both tested positive for coronavirus

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photos: Steve Waller - Credit: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town's general manager of football operations, Lee O’Neill, says the club is 'hopeful of adding one or two new faces' to the squad during the January transfer window.

The Blues will have little room for manoeuvre when manager Paul Lambert aims to strengthen for a League One promotion push given the restrictions of the division's new salary cap rules.

League One clubs can only register a maximum of 22 'senior' players (aged 21 or over at the start of 2020), with those 22 earning a maximum of £2.5m a year (contracts signed prior to August 6 are treated as £113,000 pa if in excess of that) between them.

Ipswich are right on the cusp of that £2.5m limit at present, meaning that a senior player(s) would have to depart or simply be left out of the registered squad for the second half of the campaign to accommodate the arrival of another senior player.

Town can, however, bring in as many players who were under the age of 21 at the start of 2020 as they like.

“We are speaking to clubs about players at the moment and we are hopeful that we will be able to add one or two new faces to the squad this month,” said O'Neill, speaking to the club's official website.

“We are restricted in what we can do because we are at the limit in terms of the salary cap.

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"Bringing in young players on loan is one avenue and that is something we are looking at. There will have to be a degree of juggling if we want to add someone over 21 but that is also an option we are exploring.

“We also have to be aware that we have got a number of players coming back from injury as well so it’s about getting the balance right but we are certainly working on adding to the squad.”

Town's current 21 registered 'senior' players are: Tomas Holy, David Cornell, Kane Vincent-Young, Janoi Donacien, Luke Chambers, James Wilson, Luke Woolfenden, Toto Nsiala, Stephen Ward, Myles Kenlock, Cole Skuse, Jon Nolan, Teddy Bishop, Emyr Huws, Gwion Edwards, Alan Judge, Freddie Sears, Kayden Jackson, James Norwood, Oli Hawkins and Aaron Drinan. 

They are supplemented by U21s (exempt from the salary cap) such as: Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell, Mark McGuinness, Jack Lankester, Keanan Bennetts, Idris El Mizouni, Armando Dobra, Brett McGavin, Corrie Ndabab and Liam Gibbs.

A lengthy injury list is due to start clearing up soon, with Vincent-Young, Downes, Skuse, Nolan, Bishop, Edwards, Bennetts, Sears and Norwood all pencilled in for returns to fitness early in 2021.

Several of the Town's current 'senior' players are due to be out of contract at the end of the season, including Donacien, Chambers, Wilson, Nsiala, Ward, Skuse, Bishop, Huws, Edwards, Judge, Sears and Jackson.  

The Blues are understood to be interested in a loan move for out-of-favour Barnsley winger Luke Thomas (21 and exempt from the cap). They are also among the clubs who have been linked to controversial Fleetwood striker Ched Evans.

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