14 players that could solve Town's left-sided problem

Manchester United's Alvaro Fernandez warms up ahead of the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Man

Alvaro Fernandez was recently named Manchester United's U23s Player of the Year. - Credit: PA

Signing a left wing-back starter is one of Ipswich Town’s top priorities this summer. STUART WATSON picks out 14 players that could fit the bill. 

CONOR GRANT 

The former Everton youngster had a fairly forgettable six-game loan spell at Town back in 2016. That was before he was converted from a central midfielder into a highly-productive left wing-back though. 

Now aged 27, the former England U18 international has provided 11 goals and 15 assists for Plymouth over the last two seasons in League One. He can shoot from range, bend in dangerous deliveries and find the net from dead balls. 

Having just missed out on the play-offs, the Devon club might see some star men depart this summer. Grant is now heading into the final year of his contract at Home Park. 

CALLUM O’DOWDA 

The 27-year-old's career has dovetailed with that of Town CEO Mark Ashton – the pair having been together at both Oxford United and Bristol City.  

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He now finds himself a free agent after being released by the Robins.

Since making a £1.25m step up from League Two in 2016, he has clocked up 160 appearances in the Championship and been capped 23 times by the Republic of Ireland.

Quick, tricky and direct, he can play anywhere down the left flank. Has the potential to be Town's 'left-sided Wes Burns'.

ALVARO FERNANDEZ 

Manchester United signed the long-haired Spaniard from Real Madrid on a four-year deal in 2020. 

The 19-year-old was recently named the Red Devils’ Under-23s Player of the Year (3G, 4A) and has been an unused first team sub for recent Premier League games. 

Started out as a striker in youth football before converting to left-back. He's described as ‘looking extremely comfortable in possession’ on his official player profile page. 

There was reportedly Championship and La Liga 2 loan interest back in January. Could Kieran McKenna and Martyn Pert convince their former employers that Suffolk is the best place for this talented youngster to get a first taste of senior football? 

Forest Green Rovers' Nicky Cadden reacts after a goal is disallowed during the Sky Bet League Two ma

Nicky Cadden scored 12 goals for League Two champions Forest Green Rovers in 2021/22. - Credit: PA

NICKY CADDEN 

Has just been named in the League Two Team of the Year after providing 12 goals and three assists from the left of midfield for champions Forest Green Rovers. 

The 25-year-old made more accurate crosses than any other player in the division and ranked fifth for key passes. He’s also a set-piece specialist. 

Gloucestershire club may struggle to keep hold of their best players following promotion now manager Rob Edwards has moved to Watford. 

Bournemouth's Robbie Brady warming up prior to kick-off before the Sky Bet Championship match at the

Robbie Brady is soon to be out of contract at newly-promoted Premier League side AFC Bournemouth. - Credit: PA

ROBBIE BRADY 

Yes, he’s ex-Norwich. And yes, he had a few problems with his Achilles over the last few years. 

But the 57-cap Republic of Ireland international – who is still only 30 – could be a very good player at League One level. 

He’s played 200+ games in the Premier League for Hull, Norwich and Burnley, but was restricted to just two league starts for promoted Championship club Bournemouth last season and is now out of contract (though the Cherries do have a 12-month extension option). 

Another set-piece specialist. 

ROLANDO AARONS 

A quick, strong, exciting left-sider who can drive up the field with the ball at his feet. 

Former England U20 international was on the fringes of the Newcastle first team for several years. Following loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday (Championship), Wycombe (League One) and Motherwell (SPL) he signed for Huddersfield in January 2021. 

The 26-year-old struggled for game-time with the Terriers in the first half of last season and then suffered a knee injury at the start of 2022. 

Is now heading into the final year of his contract. 

JOSH RUFFELS 

Racked up more than 250 appearances for Oxford United over the course of eight seasons, helping them to League Two promotion and then become regular League One play-off finishers. 

He moved to Championship club Huddersfield on a Bosman free transfer last summer, but has been restricted to just two league starts in his debut season for the Terriers. 

The 28-year-old is strong in the air and a good crosser of the ball.  

Lincoln City's Brennan Johnson (left) and Blackpool's Luke Garbutt battle for the ball during the Sk

Ex-Ipswich Town loanee Luke Garbutt now heads into the final year of his Blackpool contract. - Credit: PA

LUKE GARBUTT 

A player that needs no introduction to Ipswich fans following his season-long loan spell at Portman Road (5G, 3A) in 2019/20. 

Sometimes looked defensively suspect as a left-back, but his attacking attributes could make him well-suited to a left-sided role in a 3-4-3 system. Set-piece deliveries would come in handy too. 

A knee injury sidelined him for the second half of last season. He returned to action on the final day. 

There’s a possibility he could be prised away from the Tangerines as he enters the final year of his contract. 

ALFIE DOUGHTY  

Lightning quick left-midfielder was voted Charlton’s Young Player of the Season when they were relegated from the Championship. 

Rangers and Celtic were both linked, but it was Stoke who signed him for £650k in January 2021. 

A hamstring injury prevented Doughty hitting the ground running with the Potters and he’s just finished last season on loan at Cardiff. 

Stoke boss Michael O’Neill said of the 22-year-old: “He's one of those players who can get you on the edge of your seat. He has to show that more, he knows that.”  

Still has two years left on his contract, so a loan would look the most likely way to land him. 

Charlton Athletic's Ben Purrington prepares to take a throw in during the Sky Bet League One match a

Ben Purrington has been released by Charlton Athletic. - Credit: PA

BEN PURRINGTON 

Ipswich arguably shouldn’t be signing a player who has just been released by a Charlton side that finished below them in the table. 

Purrington excelled at left wing-back when Johnnie Jackson first took over the Addicks though. It was only when he moved into a back three that his form tailed off. 

The 25-year-old, who has also played for Plymouth and Rotherham, has a decent amount of Championship and League One experience. 

Liverpool's James Norris in action during the UEFA Youth League, Group A match at the Liverpool FC A

James Norris has impressed for Liverpool's Under-23s. - Credit: PA


JAMES NORRIS  

An energetic, attack-minded left-back who has come through the youth ranks at Liverpool. 

Became the club’s fourth-youngest-ever debutant in December 2019 when coming on in the closing stages of a 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa (most first team players away at the Club World Cup in Qatar at the time). 

The 19-year-old signed a ‘long-term’ contract last summer, was named on Jurgen Klopp’s bench for a Champions League group game at AC Milan, has been a key man for the U23s (4G, 2A) and also helped the U19s reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Youth League. 

'This Is Anfield' describe him as ‘a hard-nosed, robust and reliable defender who is more than capable of having an influence in the final third’. 

GEORGE NURSE 

Not quite able to break into Bristol City’s first team, the 23-year-old has just enjoyed an impressive debut season for Shrewsbury in League One. 

Playing on the left of midfield, he shackled Wes Burns expertly when Ipswich were held to a 1-1 draw at Montgomery Waters Meadow last month. 

Only has a year left on his contract now. 

MICKEL MILLER 

Released by Rotherham after providing four goals and six assists in their recent League One promotion campaign.

London-born player was prolific in non-league for Carshalton Athletic and subsequently went on do well for Hamilton in the SPL.

The 26-year-old, who has played a lot of football as a wing-back, will not be short of suitors this summer.

NICLAS ELIASSON 

Skilful Swede joined Bristol City for £1.8m in 2017 and went on to make almost 100 appearances for the Robins over three seasons. 

After providing 12 assists and 56 key passes in 2019/20 he moved to French club Nimes for £2.25m. 

Relegation followed and L’Équipe reports the Ligue 2 club will be forced to sell players this summer.

Eliasson has played left wing-back, but he's probably more of a winger/wide forward.