With eight games remaining in the Championship, which of our current loan players will be on that pre-season tour of Germany and the Netherlands is to soon to say.
I think the majority view is that we would all love to see Alan Judge, Will Keane and ideally, Mathew Pennington stick around, but what are the chances of this actually happening, after the last ball of this season has been kicked?
As former Town captain, Mick Mills alluded to over the weekend, it is not always about money. As supporters, there is a general suspicion that the motivation of any player to move on is almost entirely based on his pay packet but this is not entirely correct. There are many other factors that come into play when a player decides to move on.
Of course, money is one of them and in our present predicament playing in a higher division is another, but we must not forget what else makes a footballer tick. Family issues can influence things; if for example his wife is contented living in the area and quite often this relates to schooling and whether their kids are happy in the classroom?
I know my sister in my brother-in-law had to move house regularly because of his job, and one of the most stressful aspects of this uprooting process was their children, who had made good school chums and were emotionally distraught at the thought of moving to pastures new and leaving their friends behind.
If I was a betting man (and I am!) I would suggest that of the three mentioned above then Will Keane is the favourite to stay. He apparently wants to stay and has had an injury-plagued career to date, and he shows real signs that he wants to stay if it means playing regular first team football.
Alan Judge falls into much the same category. He has had a spate of injuries that have restricted his playing time but since he moved to the Blues he has been injury free and furthermore, he has been recalled to the Republic of Ireland national squad!
Manager Mick McCarthy could be doing us a huge favour here by default because Alan will know that playing at a lower league won’t stop him getting selected if he can stay fit?
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has also very shrewdly started to play him in a free role and we are starting to see the benefits of this. He is also one of the first names on the team sheet which was not the case at Brentford when he was seen as something of a bit player. The fans love him but does he love the fans and the area quite as much?
Time will tell, but I do know the club is in talks with him and football operations manager Lee O’Neill explained today, in an exclusive East Anglian Daily Times interview with Any Warren, that there is still some hope. “Money is always one part of a players contract but another part, which people sometimes forget, is the opportunity to play regularly in the team and be the focal point of the team. Some players might go and get more money elsewhere but they might not always get as many minutes on the pitch.”
Mathew Pennington might be persuaded by Everton to have another year-long loan but equally, they may think that going down a league will not help his development. He is on a three-year contract with the Toffees and it is unlikely that he will feature with them next term in the Prem but do they really want him to start to go backwards? I think not, and Ipswich does not have the brass to sign him – even if we wanted to.
As for Bart Bialkowski, he is one of our very own and I think that family factors may well influence his decision, and let’s face it, where else would he be adored in the same way as he is at Ipswich. Even in his beloved Poland, I seriously doubt whether the reception would be quite as warm.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich