Which Ipswich players could benefit from a fresh start under a new manager?
PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 April 2018
The next Ipswich Town manager will have decisions to make regarding a number of players this summer. ANDY WARREN looks at the players with most to gain.
If there’s one Ipswich Town player who will certainly benefit from a fresh start, it’s striker Freddie Sears.
The former Colchester frontman has struggled for regular minutes this season under Mick McCarthy and, when they have come, they have generally seen him deployed in a wide role rather than his favoured central striking position.
He has now gone more than a year without scoring a goal - a period including 37 games and 1,957 playing minutes dating back to the victory over Newcastle last April.
Sears is as hard working as they come, and that is true wherever he plays on the field, but that hard work is so much more profitable in the middle of the pitch.
He said recently that he would have to consider his Ipswich future in the summer given his desire to be playing regularly and in his favoured position, but will McCarthy’s departure and the prospect of a clean slate make him think again?
“Who knows (what the future holds) because you want to play games,” Sears said. “I’m 28 and I’m not happy sitting around doing nothing – I want to play games and I feel like I have a lot to give, whether that’s here or somewhere else.
“I’m not one of those who is happy to be sitting around, picking up money and not doing anything, I want to be playing, scoring goals and achieving stuff.
“I’m sure there are a few other boys thinking about what they are going to do. I still have next year left on my contract here and I’m happy, so we’ll see.”
A change of manager can often bring about a change of fortune for players, both positively and negatively, with Sears perhaps one with the most to gain.
A firing Freddie Sears, like the one who hit the ground running after his arrival in January 2015, would be an asset to any Championship squad.
This summer will bring a fresh start for Sears, whether that’s in Suffolk or elsewhere.
The homegrown left-back has made 12 Championship appearances so far this season, but did not appear in consecutive league games under McCarthy’s management during the campaign.
While there are still rough edges needing to be smoothed out, the 21-year-old has never let the team down when he has been called upon in place of Jonas Knudsen.
McCarthy regularly insisted Danish international Knudsen was his preferred choice on the left of the defence, with Kenlock’s chances coming only on the odd occasion when the consistent Dane was injured, suspended or needed as a stand-in centre-half.
“What I would like is Myles to have given me that same problem, that I could toss a coin and they’d be equal, Jonas and Myles,” McCarthy said while admitting he would have liked to have sent Kenlock out on loan this season.
But despite putting in a number of good displays as Knudsen’s deputy, Kenlock often found himself back on the bench the following week.
He has a different skill set to the consistent Dane, with Kenlock more adept at skipping forwards and getting into the opposition penalty area, with the team’s recent use of wing backs ideal for the Croydon youngster.
It seemed unlikely Kenlock would ever force his way past Knudsen and into McCarthy’s favoured line-up, but a new manager may have other ideas.
The young right-back has been out-of-sight, out-of-mind during his loan at Rotherham this season.
He looked the part when he burst onto the scene at the start of the 2015/16 season but, since then, has slid down the pecking order.
Like Kenlock there are rough edges needing to be smoothed, but the reports from Rotherham have been good since the turn of the year, with the Millers’ winning run in January and February coinciding with the Ipswich loanee’s return to the side.
Though McCarthy seemingly never settled on either Jordan Spence or Dominic Iorda as his first choice right-back this season, Emmanuel will still face significant competition when he returns this summer, with the emergence of Irish youngster Barry Cotter another obstacle in his way.
The winger is another player out on loan, with Rowe playing a part in Lincoln’s Checkatrade Trophy victory and League Two promotion push under Danny and Nicky Cowley.
Asked about Rowe prior to his departure, McCarthy said: “He’s done OK, nobody’s come back and said, ‘gaffer, you’ve got to get him back, he’s got to come back’ but he’s done OK.”
In a squad short of wide players contracted for next season, Rowe might get a longer leash under a new manager.
The former Tottenham man has made 36 appearances for the Blues this season, all in the league, but only 24 have been starts and he has been substituted in half of those.
He has made those appearances in a variety of positions, too, including wide right, central midfield and at right wing-back in Bryan Klug’s first game in caretaker charge.
He has impressed of late, particularly in attacking situations when he has been able to run at his man and create chances for his team-mates, but he is another who has not been able to truly nail down a starting place this season.
“It’s hard because you play a good game and then next week you are out of it,” he said after scoring at Nottingham Forest. “But you have to keep training right because when you’re in you are not going to do well if you’ve not had a good week’s training.”
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