Ipswich Town will look to put last seasons play-off semi final defeat to bitter rivals Norwich City behind them. With much of last years squad being retained I see no reason why they can’t repeat their success. Mick McCarthy has kept quiet on any incoming names, but Darryl Murphy putting pen to paper on a new one year deal will be crucial to their chances.
The Tractor Boys sensational home record was the fundamental reason for reaching the dizzy heights that they did. They lost just 3 matches at Portman Road, and had the highest points tally amongst the whole league. Despite putting on a brilliant show in front of their own fans, there weren’t so many fireworks on their away travels, 7 wins, 7 draws, and 9 losses, contributing to their gentle slip down the table.
Fans Favourite and former captain Tommy Smith was one of the tractor boys most consistent players last season, to the extent where he missed just 4 league games all season. Partner in crime Christophe Berra who arrived after Wolves were relegated back in 2012/13 also solidified a spot in the starting eleven, pushing Luke Chambers out to right-back. Despite being rarely forced into action yesterdays friendly against Peterborough, the backline partnership of Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra looked calm and composed, limiting the posh to shots form range. Overall Ipswich have a vastly experienced defence that still has the unquestionable ability to keep clean sheets. With the squads average age now touching on 27, you would think Mick McCarthy may turn towards youth rather than bringing in even more experience if extra over is needed.
After watching the Tractor boys play out an abysmal 0-0 draw against Peterborough at the weekend, my thoughts have slightly changed about their chances. McCarthy played what you expect to be their strongest eleven in the first 45, creating very few chances, the strike partnership of Darryl Murphy and David McGoldrick will also need to be much sharper come the 8th August, not even testing goalkeeper Ben Alnwick on the day. Jonathan Parr looked more that good enough to replace Bournemouth bound Tyrone Mings in the left back role. After the game, Mick McCarthy insisted he learnt very little about his players. But during the season Ipswich will have to beat teams of the calibre in order to reproduce last seasons success and a draw against a League One side is simply not satisfactory. I’m all for teams not chopping and changing players every season, but with it not quite being enough last year, you would think more quality would need to be added to go that one step further.