Jewell Fighting On The Front Line
Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell looks set for a busy summer in the transfer market at the end of this season, and Vital Ipswich has been asking you which areas of the squad you think the boss needs to focus his attention on.
Town might be set for a comfortable finish in the Championship this season, but evidently they will need to improve dramatically if they are to challenge for promotion next season. All too often their weaknesses have been exposed during this campaign; the defence was particularly leaky during the autumn whilst a misfiring strikeforce has cost the Blues points on far too many occasions, and some question marks still remain over the strength of certain areas in the midfield. With many players out-of-contract and others likely to be sold to fund redevelopment, it looks like the Town boss has his work cut out ahead of next season.
So, which area of the team does Jewell most urgently need to improve in the summer? That's what we've been asking you for the past week, and here's how you replied:
5% - Goalkeeper
26% - Defence
4% - Midfield
53% - Attack
12% - All of the above
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Clearly most Ipswich supporters feel that the Blues' battle in the transfer market this summer will need to be focused on the front line. That is no small surprise, not only because Town have lacked a truly prolific goalscorer for many years, but also because the attack is highly likely to be left threadbare in the summer. Connor Wickham and Jason Scotland are the only two recognised strikers in the team at present, with Pablo Counago, Kevin Lisbie and Ronan Murray all out-of-contract in the summer and Tamas Priskin potentially up for sale after recently being sent out on loan to Swansea City. Indeed, options could well be even slimmer if the Blues decide to cash in on Wickham to fund further signings.
Aside from the attack, the defence looks to be the next priority. With a long-standing hole at right-back and new contracts still not secured for centre-back pairing Gareth McAuley and Damien Delaney, further signings will surely be needed here if the Blues are to avoid the kind of problems they suffered at the back during that infamous six match losing run in the autumn. Elsewhere, things aren't looking too bad; provided contracts are renewed, goalkeepers should be no problem at all with Marton Fulop, Brian Murphy and Arran Lee-Barrett all providing excellent options, whilst the midfield has been looking much stronger in recent months - though Jewell could face major battles if he is to secure the services of loanee Jimmy Bullard and captain David Norris beyond the end of the season.
Thankfully, opinions of the squad do appear to have improved since January, when an identical poll revealed that most fans felt the whole team needed urgent overhaul. However, concerns over individual areas appear to have remained consistent, with the previous poll also returning attack and defence as the priority zones. It is clear therefore where the problems have been for some time, and there will need to be considerable movement in the transfer window when the time comes if Jewell is to plug the gaps once and for all.
This week's poll: 'Do you think David Norris deserves a three year contract at Ipswich?' (See right-hand column to place your vote)
Which areas of the squad would you like to see the manager focus on improving this summer? Do we need to make a lot of signings, or should the priority be securing new deals for our out-of-contract players before we look elsewhere? Share your views using the comment box below.
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