Chops And Scotty The Way Forward
While Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell looks to be putting the finishing touches to the 'winning formula' for his new team this season, Vital Ipswich brings you the third and final part in our series of polls to discover who you think should be in our starting lineup.
Having previously examined the centre-back and centre-midfield positions, this final instalment looks at the area of the team that has been the biggest problem in recent seasons at Ipswich: the strikeforce. A lack of star quality in this area of the field has probably been the most significant factor behind Town's inability to challenge for promotion since the departure of Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi in 2005.
The £8.1 million sale of teenage starlet Connor Wickham was another blow, though it did provide Jewell with considerable funds to revolutionise his strikeforce over the summer. In addition to the existing strikeforce of Jason Scotland, Tamas Priskin and Ronan Murray, the Blues have signed four forwards this summer: Daryl Murphy, Nathan Ellington, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (though primarily a midfielder) and of course the man tipped to end the long wait for a 20-goal-a-season man at Portman Road: Michael Chopra. So, which of these men should be used up front?
We offered you a list of 10 possible strike partnerships from the Ipswich squad, and here's what you thought of the options:
10% - Chopra and Ellington
2% - Chopra and Emmanuel-Thomas
0% - Chopra and Murphy
78% - Chopra and Scotland
0% - Ellington and Emmanuel-Thomas
0% - Ellington and Murphy
2% - Ellington and Scotland
2% - Emmanuel-Thomas and Murphy
0% - Emmanuel-Thomas and Scotland
2% - Murphy and Scotland
4% - Other
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There has been a clear favourite in each of the last two polls, but none have been as unanimous as this. Chopra and Scotland claimed over three-quarters of the vote, and it isn't difficult to see why. Despite some expectancy earlier in the summer that Scotland would be allowed to move on, there were signs during pre-season that the Trinidadian could develop a strong partnership with new man Chopra. Their reunion in the starting lineup against Coventry City has coincided with an upturn in form for Ipswich, with the duo themselves netting three of the seven goals that have helped the Blues claim 10 points from their last four matches. Considering that they could easily have had many more as well, Chops and Scotty look set to become a regular fixture in the Town team.
Only one other combination really garnered noteworthy support, unsurprisingly featuring Chopra. 10% fancied pairing the ex-Cardiff City striker with Ellington, while 2% thought pairing him with his former Bluebirds team-mate Emmanuel-Thomas would be a worthwhile experiment. Scotland was also favoured in pairings, receiving 2% in each partnership with Murphy or Ellington.
The only other option receiving any votes was Emmanuel-Thomas and Murphy, while 4% opted for alternative combinations not listed. Given the likelihood of his departure by the end of January, Priskin was omitted from this list, but it is likely that some would still like to see him given further opportunities at Portman Road. Other possibilities may have included youngster Murray, or even midfield options such as Lee Martin and Josh Carson.
It is probably quite appropriate therefore that we bring our 'starting lineup' series to a close at the same time that boss Jewell finally appears to have settled on a successful starting XI. Interestingly, that lineup includes all of the preferred choices selected in each of our polls...
This football management thing can't be that hard, can it?
Next poll: 'Where will Ipswich Town finish the 2011/12 season?' (See right-hand column to view the list and place your vote)
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What do you think is Town's best strike partnership? Do you think the new arrivals are the best options, or do the likes of Priskin and Murray deserve more opportunities? And can Chopra really be our 20-goal-a-season man? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.
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