What should be Mick McCarthy’s top priority at Ipswich Town this summer?
With Ipswich Town now safe from the threat of relegation, boss Mick McCarthy has some big decisions to make in the summer.
With the manager, who has one year left on his contract, saying last week that he’s committed to staying with the Blues and taking aim at the play-offs next year, it seems he won’t be walking away in the summer after what has been a pretty awful season at Portman Road.
But this is the same man who led Town to the play-offs just two seasons ago, and if he wants to do that again, he’s got to make some moves in the offseason.
So what should be top of his summer priorities?
Leicester loanee Tom Lawrence has been a revelation this season, scoring some remarkable goals and often being Town’s best player on the pitch.
Signing him would be a big ask though - he’s surely Premier League quality, and the rebuilding Foxes could use him next season. Even if he is available, it’s likely to take a bid of at least £2-3 million, plus hefty wages, to get his signature.
But should Town throw all their resources at him? He would certainly spark a buzz around Portman Road ahead of the 2017/18 season.
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The more realistic option, of course, could be to take aim at Emyr Huws. The Welsh midfielder, who scored a cracking volley in the fantastic 3-1 win over Newcastle United on Monday, would likely be a cheaper option.
And he, too, could be just the player that Town need to build around if they are to launch another play-off push.
Then there’s what to do with players already at the club. Inspirational captain Luke Chambers is currently without a deal for next season and is entering the twilight of his career - but should Mick give him another contract, perhaps more for his leadership qualities than what he can do on the pitch?
Keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, meanwhile, is likely to be in demand himself this summer. The Polish custodian is one of the best in the league, and could well be a target for ambitious teams looking to improve.
With Dean Gerken as his back-up, can Mick allow Bart to leave, or should he keep him at all costs?
Finally, something McCarthy has long been criticised for is not giving youth players a chance.
With the likes of Myles Kenlock, Andre Dozzell, Josh Emmanuel and Teddy Bishop all having spells in the first team, should McCarthy make this the summer that he commits to giving his younger players a long-term spot in the first 11?
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