The deadwood removal service has just begun, and new boss Paul Lambert is determined to clear the decks just as soon as the January transfer window kicks in. Even before the New Year begins, there is already some activity in terms of getting rid of the journeymen.
Former boss Paul Hurst recruited winger Jordan Graham but he fell out of favour even before Lambert arrived, and although they say that going back to a club is never a good idea, sadly for Graham, his first stint in an Ipswich shirt was probably even worse! Then he had the excuse of being a teenager but there is no excuse this time for his technical ineptitude. I never like to see a player fail at Town but two times in a row is a real rarity!
The wing-man is now training with Oxford City in the hope of getting a contract, and having seen him in action of late, I think he might even struggle there as well. Lambert was diplomatic when journalists questions his motives but it is easy to see why Graham would find it difficult at the club. Lambert had him on the books at both Aston Villa and Wolves, and he had a questionable disciplinary record both on and off the field. He is now 23 and appears to be going backwards.
So then, who else might Paul Lambert consider to be surplus to requirements at Town, as he looks to widen his scope and add to his squad in the New Year? There was a hint today that perhaps the manager is starting to lose faith with Emyr Huws, who has struggled with injuries since he signed that four year deal. Lambert said sternly, ” He can’t keep breaking down – train, break down – train, break down. It’s no good for anybody. He has to have a sustainable level of training and then he breaks the back of the injury syndrome.” He is right of course and I am sure Emyr is desperate to get fully fit again but it is taxing on everyone – not least the player himself.
I feel for Aristote Nsiala, who has had a tough time of it coming from the lower leagues to play in the Championship. He showed promise early in his Town career but has never really recovered from that outrageous sending off in the 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
Another player from the Hurst era who has so far failed to impress is Kayden Jackson. He has blistering pace but that seems to be about it at the moment. Pace is a real plus but not much use if you struggle to control the ball and perhaps he would be better served going into athletics as a sprinter? Time will tell of course and I genuinely hope I am wrong. I would love to see him start scoring goals but this rise up the tables seems to be a bit of a leap in the dark for him.
Tomorrow night, Ipswich take on West Brom at Portman Road, and the club are expecting a 20,000 plus crowd. Midfielder Jon Nolan might play for the first time in almost a month having suffered a dead leg and Albion manager Darren Moore is likely to name the same side which defeated promotion rivals Leeds before the international break. Worryingly, the visitors are the Championship’s leading scorers this term, with 37 goals in just 17 games and that is eight more than the next best team, Leeds United!
It should be a great atmosphere tomorrow night though and the key to this encounter could be how Ipswich start? Striker Freddie Sears has scored in each of his last two Championship games and if he is on the scoresheet again, it will be the first time he has found the net three times in a row at this level. Let’s hope so.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich