September 12th 2020. The day the footballing world has been waiting for. The Premier League and the EFL announced in July that the 2020/21 season will be underway very shortly. Ahead of the new season, I have decided to take a look into the future of the 24 teams making up League One for the new campaign, with an in depth look at what each team has to offer for the coming year. Twelfth on the list, is Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Town:
The 2020/21 season will be Ipswich Town’s 143rd in their history, and their second consecutive in League One. Their last venture outside of League One was their relegation campaign from the 2018/19 season, when Paul Hurst and Paul Lambert were the managers when Ipswich were relegated from the Championship in 24th place. The first season in League One for Ipswich, their first season in the third tier of English Football for 63 years, saw them fall from the top of the league in January to an embarrassing 11th place. Despite being one of the favourites for instant success last season, Ipswich couldn’t keep themselves at the top of the table and fell down the league with four wins in the last 21 games for the season. Ipswich will be hoping they can curve their horrific run of form last season ahead of the new campaign.
Paul Lambert is heading into his third season with Ipswich Town, having taken over from Paul Hurst after he was sacked in the relegation campaign. Lambert’s managerial career began in 2005, with the Scotsman taking the position at Livingston, but he only lasted nine months in charge. In the summer of 2006, Lambert took over as the manager of Wycombe Wanderers, lasting two years before departing in the summer of 2008. Once his time with Wycombe was up, Lambert took his first of three jobs in East Anglia, being announced as the manager of Colchester United in October of 2008, lasting under a year before switching Essex for Norwich in 2009. Lambert’s most successful job in football was with Norwich, taking them from League One into the Premier League in successive seasons. Lambert lasted three seasons with the Norfolk side, with a League One title, a Championship promotion and a Premier League survival on his resume.
He departed Norwich for fellow Premier League side Aston Villa in 2012, spending a further three years with the Midlands side, before leaving in February of 2015 after a poor string of results. In November of 2015, Lambert was brought in by Blackburn on a one-year deal to keep them in the Championship, and he did that. In November of 2016, Lambert was brought in by Wolves to once again steer a club away from relegation on a one-year deal, and he did so, before leaving in the summer of 2017. Then in January of 2018, Lambert was appointed as the new manager of Stoke City to try and keep them in the Premier League, but wasn’t able to keep them up. When Paul Hurst was sacked in October of 2018, Lambert took over the position of Ipswich Town. In an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, Lambert insisted that his side must look back on the positives from last season.
Since the start of the 2019/20 season, Ipswich Town have used nine separate formations across four competitions last season. The most used one of those was the 3-4-1-2, which was the set-up for 16 of the 47 games this season, with the 4-4-2 also being in use for 11 of those games. So, for the squad set up, I will be looking at the 3-4-1-2 set-up. All of the formations were found using Transfermarkt.
WOOLFENDEN CHAMBERS WILSON
EDWARDS SKUSE DOWNES GARBUTT
28-year-old Tomas Holy was Ipswich’s first choice goalkeeper this season, making 25 appearances in all competitions this season. The back up to him was Will Norris, on a season long loan from Wolves. Norris played 20 times last season, which was one of the biggest issues for Ipswich last season with their unnecessary rotating of goalkeepers. All stats supplied by WhoScored. Holy and Norris were fairly similar this season, with Holy making 41 saves from his 21 league appearances, and Norris making 41 saves from his 15 league appearances.
On the right side, 26-year-old Janoi Donacien was the most used right back, if Ipswich were to set up in a four at the back formation. Donacien played 19 times last season without scoring a goal. The expected first choice right back was Kane Vincent-Young, who was signed from Colchester in the summer, and was Ipswich’s best player statistically last season, but picked up a bad injury after only 11 games last year, but was still able to get two goals and an assist. Stats wise, Donacien made 30 tackles and 21 interceptions last season.
On the left, Everton loanee Luke Garbutt was Ipswich’s first-choice left back this season, being used as either a left midfielder or a wing back on more occasions than a left back. Garbutt played 30 times last season, getting six goals and three assists. Academy product Myles Kenlock played 17 times for Ipswich last season, and was the left back used in a four at the back formation, with Garbutt usually playing ahead of him. Preston loanee Josh Earl played seven times for Ipswich last season after joining in January, with the majority of those being as a left-sided centre back. In terms of the stats, Garbutt made 30 tackles and 16 interceptions when utilized as the left back.
In the centre of defence, Ipswich had a few options to work with. Academy product Luke Woolfenden played 36 times for Ipswich last season, scoring once and getting two assists last season. Alongside him was club captain Luke Chambers, who played 32 times for Ipswich last season, scoring once and getting one assist. When playing a three at the back, summer signing James Wilson was the third defender used. Wilson played 31 times last season, without scoring a goal.
Toto Nsiala was injured at the beginning of the season, going on to play nine times for Ipswich last season before joining Bolton on loan. Stats wise, Woolfenden made 50 tackles and 62 interceptions last season, and was one of the shining lights in League One last season, and one of the only ones for Ipswich. Chambers made 29 tackles and 46 interceptions last year, showing that despite his age he is still a capable defender.
Centrally, Ipswich had far too many options to work with. Academy product Flynn Downes was the most used midfielder last season, playing 32 times and getting two goals and two assists. Alongside him for the majority of the season was Cole Skuse, with the 34-year-old making 32 appearances without a goal last season. Jon Nolan made 25 appearances last season for Ipswich, with an injury happening him at the beginning of the season. Emyr Huws was another dealing with an injury early on, making 25 appearances last season as well, scoring once and getting two assists.
Another academy product in the midfield was Andre Dozzell, with one goal from his 15 appearances last season. Adding to the long list of academy products in the Ipswich squad is Teddy Bishop, who played 10 games after recovering from a long-term injury. Stats wise, Flynn Downes made 72 tackles and 36 interceptions last season, with Downes being another of the leading lights in the division, as well as one of the best for Ipswich.
On the wing, Gwion Edwards was Ipswich’s best player in their relegation season, but was hampered by being played as a wing back this season under Lambert. He played 32 times last year, scoring twice and getting one assist. 31-year-old Alan Judge was rotated between attacking midfield and the left wing, playing 34 times last season, getting four goals and five assists. Danny Rowe began the season well with Ipswich before a hip injury hampered his progress, making 18 appearances and getting one goal. Summer loanee Anthony Georgiou played 13 times last season for Ipswich, before his loan spell was cut short and he went to Bolton in January.
Academy product Armando Dobra played nine times last season, with the 19-year-old getting one goal and three assists. Stats wise, Gwion Edwards had just over a 50% dribble completion rate, and a 56% pass accuracy, whilst also picking up 10 yellow cards in the league. Evidence that he should not be played at right back again. Alan Judge had a 79% pass accuracy rate this season, whilst also having 47 shots. A good season from the midfielder.
Going forward, Ipswich had a few good options to work with. Kayden Jackson was Ipswich’s leading attacker this season, getting 11 goals and seven assists from his 36 games this year. A very good season for the 26-year-old attracting interest from Championship sides. Alongside him for the majority of the season was James Norwood, who also got 11 goals from his 32 appearances, with a groin injury hampering him throughout the season. Norwood admitted to playing at about 70% ability all of last season because of it, so if he gets it fixed he will be an incredible League One striker.
Will Keane joined as a free agent in the summer, after a loan spell in the relegation campaign, making 29 appearances last season, getting six goals and one assist. Long term absentee Freddie Sears returned to the side late in the season, playing 11 games and getting one goal. Stats wise, Jackson had 50 shots last season, with 36 of those coming from inside the box, winning only 20% of his aerial battles. Compare that to Norwood, who had 86 shots last season, with 63 of those coming from inside the box, showing how much his groin problem hampered him all season with his finishing. He won 42% of his aerial battles, a more aerial threat than Jackson.
Before Monday the 17th of August, Ipswich were one of only two sides in League One to had not made a transfer this season, with Wigan Athletic being the other. With a horrific campaign last year, Ipswich fans were begging for some new additions to the squad, and have got their wish. The first signing for Ipswich this season was 34-year-old full back Stephen Ward, who was released by Stoke City in the summer. With what looks to be an emphasis on a four-at-the-back formation this season, the left back spot was an area that needed looking at, and Ipswich have found that with a player who has over 150 Premier League appearances.
The second signing of the summer was Northampton’s David Cornell, with the goalkeeper leaving the recently promoted League One side to join up with Ipswich. Cornell had 12 clean sheets last season, and looks like a very good player for Ipswich this season. The third and so far, final signing Ipswich have made is 28-year-old Oli Hawkins, a striker who was released by Portsmouth in the summer. Hawkins was limited to 13 games last season, but had got 18 goals and 9 assists in 83 games for Portsmouth before last season. Looks a very good target man, an area Ipswich have lacked since Daryll Murphy left.
In terms of outgoings, three players were released by Ipswich in the summer. Forward Jordan Roberts has left the club to join Hearts in the Scottish Championship, whereas Will Keane and Danny Rowe have been released and are without a club currently. With the loan deals of last year expiring, Will Norris, Luke Garbutt and Josh Earl have returned to their parent clubs.
The Problem Areas?
As an Ipswich fan, I have more of a knowledge about the problem areas with this club compared to others, and on paper there are not many to worry about. But that’s just on paper, obviously the biggest area of concern is the staff, but we won’t go in to that. In goal, Ipswich have Tomas Holy and David Cornell at their disposal, with Adam Przybek and Harry Wright as very comfortable back-ups. A very strong goalkeeper group, with hopefully at least one of the two youngsters going out on loan this season. On the right, Ipswich have Kane Vincent-Young back fit, and also Janoi Donacien available. One of the best wing backs in the league in KVY, but an injury to him could cause a reshuffle of formation because Donacien isn’t as strong. On the left, Stephen Ward joins Myles Kenlock as the left back options. Very happy with both of them.
In the center of defence could be an area of concern for Ipswich. They have been able to keep hold of Luke Woolfenden for another year at least, giving him a four-year deal. Also, there is Luke Chambers, James Wilson and and a returning Toto Nsiala. With Nsiala linked with leaving, maybe a younger centre back could be on the horizon. In the middle of the pitch, Ipswich are stacked with players. If Lambert’s plans are true, then it looks like a 4-3-3 set-up this season. Flynn Downes and Cole Skuse as the defensive midfielders in the three, happy with them. Then as a playmaker option is Andre Dozzell, Emyr Huws and Jon Nolan. Maybe can afford to let one of Huws or Nolan leave. Then as the attacking midfielder of the three Ipswich have Teddy Bishop, Alan Judge, Armando Dobra and Idris El Mizouni. Four excellent options in midfield, with all four deserving of a chance this season.
On the wing, Ipswich still have Gwion Edwards to work with, whilst Freddie Sears is fully fit this season, and academy product Jack Lankester is back in action after over a year out. With Danny Rowe leaving, maybe a younger winger could be an option this season. Going forward, Ipswich still have James Norwood and Kayden Jackson for the time being, with both players being linked with moves away. Oli Hawkins has joined them too, with Aaron Drinan also now stacking a claim with the Academy star scoring twice against Colchester in our pre-season friendly. So many options to work with.
I’m not suggesting by any means that I am a scouting guru who has an extensive knowledge of the world of football, but I do like the process of the transfer windows, and trying to be someone who can identify talent when it becomes available. For each team, after identifying the problem areas, I want to try and see if I can find any players for a specific set of positions who could be suited to each club, based on previous transfer years and the club’s reputation surrounding incomings.
With Ipswich being my side, there will be a lot more options as transfer targets than for every other team, because I have done more research on what players would suit Ipswich Town. Credit must also be given to @LukePenningVGP who has identified a number of the players noted below:
Centre Back –
Ben Heneghen – Sheffield United – 26 y/o – Free Agent
Spent last season on loan with Blackpool. Could be enticed into a move to Ipswich if they can prove that they are promotion contenders this year. Was very solid for Blackpool last season, is a very good League One defender.
Richard Nartey – Chelsea – 21 y/o – Free Agent
Spent last season on loan with Burton. 38 tackles and 51 interceptions last season from 25 league games. Has a lot of potential. Wouldn’t be surprised if he rejoins a team in League One.
Naby Sarr – Charlton – 27 y/o – Free Agent
Could you imagine if Ipswich pulled of one of the deals of League One with this guy. Was extremely impressive in League One with Charlton two seasons back, before proving his capability in the Championship last season.
Denis Duarte – Dynamo Brest – 26 y/o – Free Agent
Spent last few years in Belarusian Top division. Played 22 times when they won the Belarusian League in 2019, hadn’t played this season before release in May. Could be an option on the cheap.
Robbie McKenzie – Hull – 21 y/o – Free Agent
Released by Hull in the summer, could be the perfect defender for a whole host of League One teams this summer
Michael Svoboda – WSG Tirol – 21 y/o – Free Agent
Spent the season with WSG Tirol in the Austrian Bundesliga. Barnsley have made a habit of buying talented youngsters from the Austrian Bundesliga. Svoboda could be a very good League One defender.
David Nemeth – SV Mattersburg – 19 y/o – Free Agent
Spent the season with SV Mattersburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. Barnsley have made a habit of buying talented youngsters from the Austrian Bundesliga. Nemeth could be a very good League One defender.
Leon Bergsma – AZ – 23 y/o – Free Agent
Released by AZ in the summer, spending time with the U21’s in the Dutch Second Tier and on loan with FC Den Bosch in the same division. We have history with Holland, can we please start it up again!
Justin Bakker – AZ – 22 y/o – Free Agent
Released by AZ in the summer, and was one of the key men in the defence for the U21’s in the second-tier last season. Kept Bergsma out of the side.
Scott Wharton – Blackburn – 22 y/o – Loan Deal
Spent last season with Northampton. 43 games in all competitions. 37 tackles and 42 interceptions in League One. Four goals last season. Two years left with Blackburn. Loan spell in League One? Convince a permanent?
Tom McIntyre – Reading – 21 y/o – Loan Deal
Played 16 games for Reading last season, 10 of those coming in the league. 18 tackles and 13 interceptions in 10 games. Struggled with an injury last season. Could be loaned out by Reading for first team football.
Ross Sykes – Accrington Stanley – 21 y/o – Transfer Fee
39 games for Accrington last season. 3 goals and 2 assists. 39 tackles and 55 interceptions in 31 league games. Could be an ideal defender for us. Two years left on deal. 6ft4.
Liam Kitching – Forest Green – 20 y/o – Transfer Fee
36 games for Forest Green last season. 2 assists. 46 tackles in 29 league games. Could make the jump. Two years left on deal. 6ft1.
Ryan Sweeney – Mansfield – 23 y/o – Transfer Fee
39 games for Mansfield last season. 2 goals. 50 tackles in 33 league games. Could make the jump. One year left on deal. 6ft3.
Jason Kerr – St Johnstone – 23 y/o – Transfer Fee
36 games for St Johnstone last season. 1 goal and 2 assists. Two years left on his deal. Would be a large fee, but if you want the best, you pay the best. 6ft.
Lewis Martin – Dunfermline – 24 y/o – Transfer Fee
33 games for Dunfermline last season. 2 goals and 1 assist in Scottish Championship. Wouldn’t be a large fee at all. One year left on deal. 6ft1.
Jordan McGhee – Dundee – 24 y/o – Transfer Fee
30 games for Dundee last season. 2 goals and 2 assists in Scottish Championship. Wouldn’t command a large fee. One year left on deal. 6ft.
Dan Cleary – Dundalk – 24 y/o – Transfer Fee
Played 25 times for Dundalk in 2019. 2 goals to his name. Played 6 times so far in 2020, scoring once. 18 months left on his deal. Wouldn’t cost a chunk.
Eoin Toal – Derry – 21 y/o – Transfer Fee
Been linked with Ipswich over the summer. Played 35 times for Derry in the 2018/19 season, scoring twice. Has played all eight league games this season. 6 months left on his deal. 6ft2. Would be a very cheap and very good signing this season.
Patrick McClean – Glentoran – 23 y/o – Transfer Fee
Played 27 games for Glentoran last season. 2 goals. Has played at left back as well last season. Two years left on his deal.
Jamie Harney – Cliftonville – 24 y/o – Transfer Fee
24 games for Cliftonville last season. 18/19 season – 30 games and 3 goals. Spent time with West Ham and Colchester, knows the area. Played in the Europa League last season.
Largie Ramazani – Manchester United – 19 y/o – Free Agent
Released by United in the summer. Scored 9 goals and got 2 assists in 13 U23 Premier League games. Scored in the EFL Trophy as well. Would be a very cheap option, who could make the move to a League One side.
Saviour Godwin – KSV Roeselare – 23 y/o – Free Agent
Released by the Belgium Second Tier side in the summer. Got 7 goals and 3 assists last season. Would be a very cheap option.
Ben Woodburn – Liverpool – 20 y/o – Loan Deal
Spent last season with Oxford. Few injuries but did get 1 goal and 5 assists in 16 games. Been linked with Ipswich and Portsmouth in the last few days.
Jonny Smith – Bristol City – 23 y/o – Loan Deal
Spent last season on loan with Oldham. 11 goals and 6 assists. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was to go back out on loan again, this time to a League One side. Surely Lambert can make something like this happen.
Randall Williams – Exeter – 23 y/o – Transfer Fee
46 games for Exeter lasts season. 5 goals and 14 assists. Would be shocked if he is still at Exeter when the window shuts. Would command a large fee though. Hull had bid rejected. Predominantly plays on the right.
Bez Lubala – Crawley – 22 y/o – Transfer Fee
41 games for Crawley last season. 13 goals and 3 assists. Would be shocked if he is still with Crawley when the window shuts. Would command a fee. He is my most wanted player.
Kwame Poku – Colchester – 19 y/o – Transfer Fee
38 games for Colchester last season. 5 goals and 5 assists. Already looks a great prospect, and we have a history of taking players away from Colchester. He could be the next big thing for us.
Paul McMullan – Dundee – 24 y/o – Transfer Fee
Played 29 games for Dundee last year as they won the Scottish Championship. 3 goals and 10 assists in the league. One year left on his deal. 7 goals and 7 assists season before that.
Daniel Kelly – Dundalk – 24 y/o – Transfer Fee
36 games for Dundalk in the 2018/19 season, scoring 9 goals. Played seven games in 2020 so far, getting two assists. Six months left on deal. Could be a cheap option.
Daniel Mandriou – Bohemians – 21 y/o – Transfer Fee
Played 28 games for Bohemians in 2018/19 season. 11 goals and 2 assists. Can play wide, predominantly as a attacking midfielder. This year in 2020, 3 goals in 6 games.
Ben Doherty – Coleraine – 23 y/o – Transfer Fee
Played 26 times for Coleraine last season. 9 goals and 8 assists. Would be a very tidy player on a very cheap fee from Northern Ireland. These are the kind of areas Lambert needs to look at.
Paul O’Neill – Glentoran – 20 y/o – Transfer Fee
Played 24 games for Glentoran last season. Scored 11 goals from the wing. Like Doherty, he would be a very good player to try and bring in. Oxford have signed someone from NI, and he looks like an incredible winger. We should be doing the same.
It’s always difficult to tell how each team is going to fair in the new season, because we haven’t seen many signings nor the influence of pre-season friendlies. Just by going off how each team is expected to deal with the current COVID-19 financial troubles, and what each team is capable of doing under much greater restraint right now, I think that Ipswich should be in and around the play-offs this season. With the squad we have on paper, it is a top end side on its day, with at least 8-9 League One level backups on the bench. The issue we have, is that Paul Lambert is not fit to manage them. If Ipswich are not in the top 6 after 7-8 games, he has to go.
What do you guys think? How do you think Ipswich will fair in the new season? Will Paul Lambert live up to his five-year deal and produce what is expected of him? Or will it be another car-crash season for Ipswich Town? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow All Out Football on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.