Swindon boss Brown says Woolfenden will be ready for the Championship on Ipswich return
- Credit: Archant
Swindon manager Phil Brown believes defender Luke Woolfenden will return to Ipswich Town next summer ready for Championship football.
Brown chased the teenage central defender for much of the summer following a recommendation from former Blues boss Mick McCarthy, eventually securing his services on loan just seven minutes prior to the deadline at the end of August.
The 19-year-old has already made nine appearances for the Robins, scoring once while splitting his time between central defence and right back, with former Hull boss Brown impressed with what he’s seen.
“I phoned Mick McCarthy, a good friend of mine whose opinion I would certainly rate when it comes to centre halves, and he told me to take Luke in a heartbeat if the option was there,” Brown said.
“Mick said ‘don’t even investigate it any further, the lad is a talent both with and without the ball’.
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“When Mick said that, back in early June, I put the call in to Paul (Hurst) but he rightly said he needed to keep an eye on him in pre-season because he was struggling to get centre halves in himself.
“It was a waiting game for me but, with seven minutes left before the window actually closed, we managed to snag him having chased him for almost two-and-a-half months.
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“The fact he could play in the middle and at right back really interested me but now having worked with him for a few months, seeing him in the line of fire, I’ve witnessed what a good quality lad he is.
“He has good assets both on and off the field and is a player who is very likeable.”
Brown believes Woolfenden’s loan move benefits both Swindon and Ipswich, with the Robins boss confident the defender will be ready for the Championship by the time he returns to Portman Road.
He said: “There’s a long way to go and he’s not through it yet by any stretch of the imagination but what Paul (Hurst) will want is, when he goes back to Ipswich, for him to have a few scars on his face and an understanding of what it is to go into battle in tight games.
“It’s a war of attrition you have to win and it’s a win-win situation for both. I get a player who can come through it and has that scar from a battle and Paul will be getting a player he hopes can come back and play first-team football at Ipswich now.
“He’s probably a year away from being able to do that for Ipswich, I wouldn’t say too much more than that. He’s had a sample of non-league football (at Bromley) and he’s now getting League Two football so I don’t think he’s that far away from playing a higher level of first team football in a first team environment.
“Once you’ve got that level of experience I think going out into a Championship environment is something you can be ready for.”