Six things we can learn from Ipswich Town’s opening pre-season game against Paderborn
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town start their 2019 pre-season campaign with a friendly against newly-promoted Bundesliga side SC Paderborn 07 this afternoon (2pm kick-off UK time). STUART WATSON looks at what we could glean from the game.
How does Norwood look?
James Norwood only joined up with new team-mates on Wednesday.
That's because he was told he could report for pre-season a week later than the rest of the squad due to the fact his 2018/19 campaign was extended by involvement in the League Two play-offs with Tranmere.
The 28-year-old will still be getting to know everybody and finding his sharpness again so soon after his holidays.
It will be interesting to see how much game time he gets today and who he strikes up an on-field relationship with.
What formation will it be?
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Pre-season is about working on preferred systems and patterns of play, so whatever Paul Lambert starts with today will give a good indication of his plans going forwards.
He dabbled with a diamond formation for a while last season, to mixed effect, before seeming to settle on 4-3-3. Will it be that, or a variation of it, again? Or is the plan to integrate a second striker?
It will also be interesting to see what roles certain players fulfil. Is Janoi Donacien seen as a right-back, centre-back or left-back? Will Jordan Roberts be played wide left or up front?
Who's ready to go?
Alan Judge broke his wrist playing for the Republic of Ireland four weeks ago. The estimated recovery time from that injury was six weeks, so it's unlikely he'll feature.
Gwion Edwards didn't join in the first day of pre-season, with Lambert having said the Welsh winger was a week away from being able to train due to a groin issue. Will there be any game time for him?
Jack Lankester's last competitive appearance was back in January. He's had a prolonged spell on the sidelines with a back problem and it remains to be seen how carefully Town tread with him over the coming weeks.
The same can be said of Emyr Huws who, having had so many failed comebacks following knee surgery at the back end of 2017, has trained with the rest of his team-mates at the start of pre-season.
Who can stake a claim?
Homegrown centre-backs Luke Woolfenden and Corrie Ndaba will be looking to catch the eye over the coming weeks.
Woolfenden, 20, impressed during a loan spell at League Two club Swindon. Ndaba, 19, needs to show Lambert he is back on track after the Blues boss decided against handing the Irish youngster his first team debut towards the back end of last season.
While Town continue their search for a left-winger, following Danny Mayor's decision to sign for Plymouth, there's an opportunity for Danny Rowe and Jordan Roberts to show Lambert he has a solution in-house.
This is also a fresh start for players who had limited game-time under Lambert last season - the likes of Kayden Jackson, Josh Emmanuel, Andre Dozzell and Tristan Nydam.
Who made the cut?
Lambert has made a big deal about wanting a tight-knit squad and how this time away is vital for team bonding.
Freddie Sears has made the trip, even though he's not due back in action until October following knee surgery.
It's therefore not too big an assumption to say those who didn't make it onto the plane are not part of the manager's first team plans.
The likes of Barry Cotter and Aaron Drinan didn't join in first team training last week. Will they be involved?
Seeing which of the younger crop of homegrown players are there, if any, will also give an idea of who might potentially make a Jack Lankester-esque breakthrough over the coming months.
How will minutes be divided?
It's normally only later in pre-season that the starting XI starts to take shape. Today will almost certainly be a mix and match team with the aim of getting fitness into legs.
A completely different team in each half? Or an hour plus for some?
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Ipswich Town reporters Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are in Germany to cover the game. Keep an eye on this website and follow our social media channels for comprehensive coverage.
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