Paul Digby’s versatility was a major factor in Ipswich Town move

Paul Digby (right) and Marc McNulty in action during Ipswich Town's FA Cup home game against Portsmo

Paul Digby (right) and Marc McNulty in action during Ipswich Town's FA Cup home game against Portsmouth last season. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Paul Digby’s versatility was one of the biggest reasons Mick McCarthy offered him a permanent deal at Ipswich Town.

The 21-year-old made three starts and three substitute appearances for the Blues during a loan spell from then League One side Barnsley in the second half of last season.

Unwanted by the Tykes, who sealed promotion to the Championship via the play-offs and who visit Portman Road in their league opener on August 6, the 6ft 4in defender yesterday completed a free transfer switch to Portman Road, penning a one-year deal.

“He played well when he came here on loan from Barnsley,” said McCarthy. “He was excellent on his starting debut in that nil-nil draw at Middlesbrough.

“Quite clearly he’s fit because he’s come back and won the bleep test against Luke Hyam, which no-one has ever done before!

“He brings a bit of versatility. He’s played in midfield and at full-back, while he excelled at centre-back when he played.

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“Next season, with no emergency loan window, having players that can play a number of different positions will be really important for us.

“He was a bright young England prospect, he had some injuries, his career stalled a bit and I’m hoping he can resurrect it with us.”

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With centre-back Adam Webster having been recruited from League Two side Portsmouth, the Blues boss added: “We’ve lived on five defenders, generally, for the last two or three seasons. We’ve now got two solid back fours and we’ll need that with no emergency loans.”

Digby said: “I’m really excited because I had a great time here before.

“In finishing seventh we were a bit disappointed more than anything. I think a lot of teams would have been happy being that high up the table but we weren’t really satisfied with it.

“I think we can push on this season so I’m really looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”

On his decision to let academy product Matt Clarke move to Portsmouth as part of the swap deal for Webster, Mccarthy said: “It was a tough call, but I’ve got two left-footed centre-backs in front of him – Tommy (Smith) and Christophe Berra. He was unlikely to move them out.

“Adam Webster is hopefully a star in the making.”

Polish defender Piotr Malarczyk, who made three starts and three sub appearances in his debut season at Town, remains transfer-listed.

“There’s been a bit of interest in him, maybe on loan,” said McCarthy.

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