Assuming he has a full squad to choose from, and having witnessed all the pre-season friendlies, this is the team manager Paul Lambert must pick. I am basing my selection entirely on what I have seen so far and what I have observed prior to the season being suspended so abruptly.
- Tomas Holy: He has his critics of course but he is a commanding figure behind the posts, and one rare error against West ham United is not enough to deprive him of the keeper’s jersey. After all, he wears the number one because he is the number one, and I have not seen anything from his understudy to convince me he is any better that Will Norris.
- Kane Vincent-Young: Without him in the side we lack pace down the flanks and although he is primarily a defender, his surging runs forward certainly enhance our attacking options, and we have to hope that he overcomes his Achilles problem before the opener against Wigan Athetic at Portman Road.
- Stephen Ward: He has not taken the place by storm but his experience in the top flight of English and international football too, suggests he still has some fuel left in the tank at this level, and he can wade in with a goal or two as well.
- Flynn Downes: Midfielder Downes is surely one of the first names on any team sheet and I delight in watching him. If we are to score more goals from midfield this season then Flynn has to push on in this department, but his technical ability and physical presence is worth its weight in gold.
- Luke Woolfenden: Another home grown talent who has a calmness of mind that frightens the living daylights out of the management team. In fairness, most of the decisions he makes are good ones and like any quality performer, he makes the game look far too easy at times.
- James Wilson: He is a no-thrills defender who applies himself to the job in a very efficient manner. He tends to focus on doing the simple things well and this has a stabilizing effect on the whole of the Town backline.
- Teddy Bishop: He has done enough in pre-season to suggest that he is on the way back. Injuries have blighted his career to date but we all know that he is a very gifted footballer, and if he can stay fit, then he could be a real asset this term.
- Cole Skuse: His place in my side might annoy some people but the truth is that his experience in midfield is still an important cog in the Town wheel. I was tempted to put in Andre Dozzell but he is yet to convince me that his inclusion would be of any great benefit to the team at this time. Skuse reminds me of Roger Osborne in many ways. He is the unsung hero of the team and works tirelessly for the cause.
- Kayden Jackson: He is still not firing on all cylinders but his blistering pace cannot be overlooked. If he stays with the Blues then he has to be included in the side because he worries defenders and creates chances for others in the process – even if he does not score enough himself.
- James Norwood: Big things are expected of James if he can rid himself of that niggly groin injury. I hope he has learned something from last season when he was far too profligate in front of goal for my liking.
- Freddie Sears: He has looked good in pre-season and if we are to play three up front then he is worthy of his place. Against Spurs he looked a real threat every time he got the ball, and there are real signs that he is getting back to his best.
You will note that there is no place in my team for captain Luke Chambers and I would therefore hand the armband to Cole Skuse. Also noticeable by their absence are; Gwion Edwards, Jack Lankester, Armando Dobra, Jon Nolan, Emyr Huws, Oliver Hawkins and Alan Judge. We will have a strong bench this season and during the course of this campaign, everyone will have a chance to shine.