When you look at our under 18 and under 23 squads, who top both tables, you may say there is no need to rush them back but I beg to differ.
Their loan spells are undoubtedly doing them the world of good, when and if, they are involved but there comes a time when you have to say that they are ready for first-team action, and I think that some of them are now getting very close.
Interestingly perhaps, it would not even be a new experience for Tristan Nydam, Josh Emmanuel or indeed Luke Woolfenden, who have tasted Championship football before. For Woolfenden it was a harsh learning curve as he was thrown in at the deep end when injuries forced the manager’s hand but both Nydam and Emmanuel were given their chance under old boss Mick McCarthy last season, and I am quite sure their time on loan to other clubs has not been a wasted journey. On the contrary, Swindon boss Phil Brown believes central defender Luke Woolfenden will return to the Blues ready to play in the second tier of English football, and not just because injuries have influenced matters.
Woolfenden has played nine times for the Robins already and has even found the net for them! His intelligent approach to defending has impressed the Swindon manager Phil Brown who said, ” He has good assets both on and off the field and is a player who is a very likeable lad.” At just nineteen years of age Brown believes that this season might come too soon for him. ” He’s probably a year away from being able to do that for Ipswich, I wouldn’t say too much more than that.”
As for the other Nydam and Emmanuel, they are probably already there! Their selections to the first team were based on performances prior to their loan spells and of course, Nydam was in the midfield that played so well against West Ham United in that Portman Road pre-season friendly. He is now playing for St. Johnstone in the Scots Premier League but more recently, he has found himself on bench-warming duties so this means he was not responsible for their 0-6 drubbing by Celtic or indeed their 5-1 defeat to Rangers recently!
Going out on loan should be about gaining experience in games that mean something to everyone. The fact that Nydam is currently not getting a look-in might suggest he is not good enough – or that he is being unfairly ignored. I would prefer to think that it was the latter, having seen him in an Ipswich shirt a few times and he is one player that I believe we miss.
Striker Aaron Drinian is out on loan at Sutton United and although he too has been a sub of late, when he has entered the fray he has apparently impressed and of course, Ben Morris has also had to make do with mainly bench warming duties with Forest Green Rovers. Chris Smith completes the batch of players plying their trade elsewhere at the moment, and reports from Aldershot suggest he has done quite well.
It is, of course, great to see our reserve teams doing so well this term and how we would love our first team to excel in the same way! It is going to be a long hard season I feel, so I am hopeful that along the way, manager Paul Hurst might consider bringing some of these loan players in from the cold.
After all, if they are not getting regular game time, then what is the point of it all?
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich