The Ipswich Town contract debate: Who should stay and who should go?

Kayden Jackson, James Norwood, Tom Carroll and Sone Aluko are all out of contract this summer

Kayden Jackson, James Norwood, Tom Carroll and Sone Aluko are all out of contract this summer - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town have decisions to make regarding their out-of-contract players. Andy Warren and Stuart Watson have their say on who should stay and who should go.

James Norwood  

SW: For me, as I've said plenty of times before, he's the best striker at the club. When he's fit, fired-up and feeling the love, you're guaranteed to get goals from James Norwood. It's underestimated that's he's bagged, on average, once every 182 minutes in the league over three stop-start seasons. 

McKenna clearly likes some of his off-the-cuff, on-the-edge qualities. But I don't know if he'll like them enough to ultimately justify putting a decent chunk of the budget into keeping the 31-year-old on for another year.  

The Northern Irishman will want to sign his own talisman this summer. And I can't see Norwood being content as a bit-part player.  

Verdict: Release 

James Norwood shoots during the second half but cannot convert the chance at Crewe Alexandra

James Norwood is out of contract this summer - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

AW: It’s pretty clear change is coming in the Ipswich Town forward line. The Blues just haven’t scored enough goals this season and next season’s main man (or men) surely isn’t at the club yet. 

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But is James Norwood good enough to have around as one part of the Blues’ striking unit? ‘Yes’ is probably the answer to that question. I’d give you the same answer if you asked me whether Norwood is good enough to lead the line and score goals for a team chasing League One promotion. 

But it just feels like Town are after something fresh and new up top. I think a fresh start would benefit Norwood, too, rather than a year or more trying to force his way out of a back-up role. He deserves great credit for the way he kept himself fit and focused during his exile – those are desirable qualities. 

It’s probably time for a parting of ways but, if that does prove to be the case, you have to feel Norwood and Ipswich may just meet again.  

Verdict: Release 

Just for you: Kayden Jackson after giving Ipswich a 2-0 lead at Fleetwood Town.

The signs are pointing towards a new deal for Kayden Jackson - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Kayden Jackson  

AW: All signs points towards a new deal for the striker, who looks like the best fit for what McKenna wants from his strikers. 

We’ve seen how a bit of belief and love from the Ipswich boss got the forgotten man playing before injury cruelly cut him down when he was high as a kite. It’ll be interesting to see what else McKenna can unlock if Jackson is kept around. 

He will have competition arriving, of course, but Jackson can contribute in a McKenna squad. 

Verdict: New deal 

SW: Has something that this Ipswich Town team lacks - pace. McKenna saw that early on and brought the front man in from the cold to play an important role for the team.  

Yes, the 28-year-old may have some technical deficiencies, but he can press high, stretch defences and run the channels to create room for others. Won't be the main man, but well worth keeping as part of a forward unit with a variety of qualities.  

All the noises being made from those at the club is that Jackson will sign a new deal. 

Verdict: New deal 

Sone Aluko fires in the ball.

Sone Aluko has been a good influence on the Ipswich Town squad - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Sone Aluko 

SW: The player on this list that I had the most difficulty coming to a decision on. Pros: Silky smooth to watch and, by all accounts, an excellent character off the field. Cons: He's 33 years old and has faded in games.  

Also, has the goal and assists output been good enough? I'd probably keep him on as an experienced, reliable squad player. The value of those can't be underestimated. 

Verdict: Take option 

AW: I really struggled with this one. I’ve enjoyed watching Aluko play this season. His technical ability, particularly his close control and the way he can turn out of trouble, is probably the best in the team. He is clearly an exceptional influence on the rest of the squad, too, with McKenna regarding his off-pitch influence highly. 

But I fully expect Town to push the boat out in his position, in order to create more for a rebuilt striker department. With Conor Chaplin already in situ and the possibility of signing Bersant Celina full-time, that would leave Aluko down the pecking order.  Whether or not Celina signs full-time will have a knock-on effect regarding Aluko, I'd say.

He’ll turn 34 next season and clearly has plenty more football in him. I’d worry, if he’s with Ipswich next season, he may find himself struggling for minutes. He’ll want more than that, won’t he?  

Potentially against my better judgement, I’ll put him on the released list. But I do half wonder whether there might be a contract for him which includes some kind of off-pitch role, too. That would be a plus for the Blues if it was the case. 

Verdict: Release 

Tom Carroll loses out at Oxford.

Tom Carroll signed a one-year deal last summer - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Tom Carroll 

AW: You can see why the former Tottenham man has operated much higher up the football pyramid, but he just doesn’t seem a fit for what McKenna’s trying to do at Ipswich. 

He’s been firmly behind Sam Morsy and Lee Evans throughout this season, when both have been available, while Tyreeq Bakinson heads him in the pecking order too. 

That’s because Carroll can be too passive in a midfield which needs intensity, with the 29-year-old not fitting the tempo. His Town career is surely needing its end. 

Verdict: Release 

SW: A player with pedigree, but it's just not happened for him at Portman Road.  

Technically good, but seemingly far too passive and lightweight to be effective at this level. Injury history also goes against him. Will be a major surprise if he stays. 

Verdict: Release 

Swindon Town's Tyreece Simpson celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Sk

Tyreece Simpson's status with Ipswich Town is complicated - Credit: PA

Tyreece Simpson  

SW: What a messy situation. It really didn't need to come to this.  

Ipswich recalling Simpson from a productive loan spell at Swindon in January, in an attempt to pressure the young striker into a signing a new deal, seemed unnecessary to me. Had everyone just cooled their jets then perhaps a sensible resolution could have been found this summer. There's too much ill-feeling now though and Simpson has, we are told, declared his desire to depart. 

Ipswich will almost certainly take the one-year extension option and then look to get as much money as they can for the powerful, but raw former rugby player. Mark Ashton won't let him go on the cheap, either, you imagine.  

Will a Championship club, investing in potential, pay that fee or simply wait until the value depreciates further? Can a League Two club, like Swindon, afford the money? Probably not. Might, against all odds, Simpson remain an Ipswich player and turn things around (like Jackson)? We'll see. 

Verdict: Take option 

AW: It’s sad it’s come to this, with McKenna revealing last week how Simpson and his representatives have told the club he wants to move on as a result of an ongoing contract dispute. It caused his productive loan spell with Swindon to be ended early. 

Ipswich won’t allow any exit to happen on the cheap, so they will undoubtedly take the teenager’s contract option and look to pick up a transfer fee. There are sure to be suitors. 

You know what, taking the contract option is probably the answer I’d have given here, even if the youngster had finished out the season well in Wiltshire. He’s clearly made big strides with the Robins but still needs to prove himself at League One level. 

Verdict: Take option 

Tomas Holy named on the bench at AFC Wimbledon.

Tomas Holy's Ipswich career appears to be coming to an end - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Tomas Holy 

AW: If contracts were given out based on character and likeability, then Holy would be offered a five-year deal at this point. He’s a popular man within the squad. 

But Town’s goalkeeping department has gone up a few notches this season, with Christian Walton’s arrival, with the current No.1 bringing a calming presence between the sticks that Holy just didn’t offer to the same level.  

Verdict: Release 

SW: On loan at League Two side Port Vale, he already has more than one foot out the door. A real shame it didn't work out for the big friendly giant. Ultimately didn't use his size anywhere near well enough.  

Verdict: Release 

 

Colchester United's Myles Kenlock with United with Ukraine printed on the back of his shirt during t

Myles Kenlock has spent the second half of the season on loan at Colchester - Credit: PA

Myles Kenlock 

SW: It's easy to forget that the homegrown left-back has made more than 100 appearances for the Blues. The 25-year-old can be an effective lower league player - but Ipswich have loftier ambitions than that. Can see him signing permanently for loan club Colchester.  

Verdict: Release 

AW: Town have been searching for a true answer at left-back since relegation from the Championship, with Kenlock given a chance by both Paul Lambert and Paul Cook during that time but not offering the consistency needed despite some decent games. 

He’s been heading to the exit since last summer and will now look to get his career going again elsewhere. Current loan club Colchester looks like a possibility. 

Verdict: Release 

Brett McGavin could start against Shrewsbury. Picture: Ross Halls

Brett McGavin has been at King's Lynn this season - Credit: Archant

Brett McGavin 

AW: We’ve seen that McGavin possesses good passing qualities and a calmness on the ball but, much in the same way Carroll doesn’t fit McKenna’s mould, McGavin doesn’t either. 

He’ll need to rebuild his career away from Ipswich. Hopefully his loan with King’s Lynn will help him with that.  

Verdict: Release 

SW: A nice range of passing and good positional awareness, but the deep-lying midfielder didn't do quite enough to establish himself in the first-team set-up at Town. 

Will have learnt a lot during this season's loan spell at relegation-fighting National League club King's Lynn Town. Future lies elsewhere.  

Verdict: Release 

 

Bailey Clements applauds fans after the 0-0 draw against Oxford United.

Bailey Clements came through the Ipswich Town academy - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Bailey Clements 

SW: A reliable academy player for many years, he enjoyed an outstanding league debut in the 0-0 home draw against Oxford last November.  

Increasingly looked below the grade during his subsequent run in the side though and has subsequently struggled for game time at Stevenage. Needs to join a club that requires an out-and-out left-back.  

Verdict: Release 

AW: Clements looks to be at the end of his road at Ipswich Town, having come through the club’s academy and been a solid performer at youth level.  

The youngster doesn’t appear up to the level needed for the Town first-team, though, but hopefully his eight appearances for Ipswich this season can help him find a new home.  

Verdict: Release