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Revealed: The five players snubbed for Ipswich Town’s squad 2020/21 photo

PUBLISHED: 17:12 28 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:22 28 August 2020

Ipswich Town players spell out the letters NHS at their squad photo shoot. Photo: ITFC

Ipswich Town players spell out the letters NHS at their squad photo shoot. Photo: ITFC

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Five young Ipswich Town players were snubbed for yesterday’s 2020/21 official squad photo.

Idris El Mizouni pictured during the pre-match warm up.   Picture Steve Waller  www.stephenwaller.comIdris El Mizouni pictured during the pre-match warm up. Picture Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

It’s understood that Idris El Mizouni, Armando Dobra, Corrie Ndaba, Aaron Drinan and Brett McGavin that they were informed by manager Paul Lambert that they weren’t to be involved on the day of the shoot.

In addition, Dobra and El Mizouni were informed they’d be playing for the Under-23s in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Norwich this evening (5pm), rather then being involved in tomorrow’s first team friendly at League Two side Cambridge United (1pm).

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Of those five players mentioned, only El Mizouni and Dobra were handed a squad number for the forthcoming campaign.

French midfielder El Mizouni came on against Burton and Peterborough at the start of last season and then started in Town’s home win against AFC Wimbledon. After that he made six appearances in the cups. The 19-year-old then joined Cambridge United on loan in January and was impressing before a knee injury ended his campaign in March.

Speaking in a recent podcast with his former Town youth coach Kieron Dyer, the teenager said: “I want to play week-in, week-out with Ipswich. I want to try and get in the team and play every game. I think I can do it.”

Armando Dobra pictured during Town's 1-0 defeat against Coventry City at Portman Road Photo: ROSS HALLSArmando Dobra pictured during Town's 1-0 defeat against Coventry City at Portman Road Photo: ROSS HALLS

Speaking after the friendly defeat to West Ham on Tuesday, boss Lambert said on the Tunisian international: “He’s done okay, but he’s got millions to lean.”

Albanian youth international Armando Dobra scored on his senior debut at Luton in the EFL Cup and was then sent off on his league debut at Accrington. He was handed cameos against Blackpool and Coventry just before Covid-19 brought a premature end to the season in March.

Town had rebuffed multiple six-figure bids from Premier League club Brighton for the 19-year-old livewire No.10 back in January and handed him a new three-year deal in May.

After penning that deal, which was a long time in the making, Dobra said: “Now the aim is to play as many games as possible. I’m ready to kick on but that’s up to the manager because he picks the team. If he thinks I’m ready then I’ll give it everything I can. I trust him.”

Corrie Ndaba is yet to make his Town senior debut, but the 20-year-old centre-back has produced some assured displays in pre-season. The Irishman, who is left-footed and comfortable in possession, is one of five centre-backs in the squad alongside Luke Chambers, Luke Woolfenden, Toto Nsiala and James Wilson.

Asked about Ndaba on Tuesday, Lambert said: “He’s done great Corrie, he really has. He’s got to keep that going. It’s alright doing it in friendly games when there’s no crowd, he’s got to be brave enough to play like that when the crowds come back.”

Michael Fernandes of Colchester United does battle with Corrie Ndaba of Ipswich Town Picture: RICHARD BLAXHALLMichael Fernandes of Colchester United does battle with Corrie Ndaba of Ipswich Town Picture: RICHARD BLAXHALL

MORE: Ipswich Town fans left bemused by Lambert’s comments about Woolfenden

Irish striker Drinan, 22, joined Town in January 2018 but is yet to make his competitive debut. He’s started every pre-season game so far this summer, doing his reputation no harm with two goals against Colchester and some hard-working displays, but will drop back down the pecking order once James Norwood and new signing Oli Hawkins come into the mix. It’s understood the duo could both be involved at The Abbey Stadium on Saturday.

Speaking about Drinan recently, Lambert said: “I’m really happy with him. His work rate is excellent and he’s done really well. He’s only a young lad, we have to remember that, and he’s definitely given us food for thought in the way he’s stepped in and shown desire. He’s certainly got a chance.”

Drinan had a spell on loan at Scottish side Ayr United last season and their manager Mark Kerr says is keeping a ‘close eye on the situation’.

McGavin, 20, produced a mature debut display in the EFL Trophy against Colchester last November.

Speaking after that game, assistant manager Stuart Taylor said: “I thought Brett McGavin did really, really well. He’s actually probably opened our eyes to the possibilities of how well he actually did.”

Aaron Drinan pictured during the West Ham game.    Picture Steve Waller  www.stephenwaller.comAaron Drinan pictured during the West Ham game. Picture Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

The deep-lying midfielder went on to be handed his full league debut against Fleetwood at Portman Road in March and was unfortunate to be subbed at the break on what was a difficult night for the team.

The quintet’s omission from the photo could, of course, be a motivational move by Lambert.

Revealing the psychology behind a similar move back in 2018, new Blues boss Paul Hurst said: “I had a conversation with the Under-23s about understanding the opportunities that are in front of you. Some of these lads now are playing at Championship level. Can some go on and play in the Premier League?

“Or are they happy just thinking ‘oh, I’m at Ipswich Town’? I said to them; ‘Just because you’ve got an Ipswich Town tracksuit on, and you’re coming to work at Ipswich Town, it means nothing. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not an Ipswich Town player yet. Don’t kid yourself that you are. You’ve got to earn that right’.

“That was part of the reason behind the squad photo. Some people might have thought they were going to be on that squad photo. They haven’t earnt the right. You’ve got to earn the right. That’s what we’re trying to get.

“I want those lads hungry to push and think ‘I should be on your team photo’. If in six months time we need to organise another squad photo, because him, him and him should be on, then we’ll do that.

Brett McGavin on the ball during Town's 1-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town Photo: ROSS HALLSBrett McGavin on the ball during Town's 1-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town Photo: ROSS HALLS

“That’s what I’m after. Sometimes young players, not just here but everywhere, are rewarded far too quickly. They get above themselves about where they are. We’ve got lads that are in our squad, but they are not what I would call Championship players yet.”

So far this summer, Town have seen Luke Garbutt, Will Norris, Will Keane, Danny Rowe and Jordan Roberts depart, with David Cornell, Stephen Ward and Oli Hawkins arriving.

Lambert has said that reducing the size of his squad is now his priority leading into the big kick-off.

Asked if it would hard trying to keep everybody happy this season, the Blues boss said on Tuesday: “The secret is get yourself in the team and you’ll be happy. That’s football. The guys know that. They need to show me what they can do and get in the side.”

TOWN SQUAD

Keepers: Holy, Cornell, Przybek

Right-backs: Vincent-Young, Donacien, Cotter

Centre-backs: Chambers, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Wilson, Ndaba

Left-backs: Ward, Kenlock, Smith

Midfielders: Downes, Skuse, Dozzell, Huws, Nolan, Nydam, McGavin

Attacking midfielders: Judge, Bishop, El Mizouni, Dobra

Wingers: Sears, Edwards, Lankester

Strikers: Norwood, Jackson, Hawkins, Drinan, Folami, Simpson


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