Goals from midfield — that would top my shopping list if I was Mick McCarthy over the summer.
It was the only puzzle ‘magic’ Mick wasn’t able to resolve since taking over a sinking ship in November.
Three defenders — Chambers with two, Cresswell and Smith with three — were able to notch up the total goal output of our entire fleet of midfielders across the season.
A spark to unlock a defence or score a goal was something distinctly lacking from the Ipswich class of 2012/13.
Unfortunately, by my reckoning, we will need to sign eight — at least one goalkeeper, a back-up centre-half, a right-back, attacking midfielder, two wingers and two centre-forwards — between now and kick-off in August for Mick to have the tools he needs to mount a play-off push.
With rumours abound of a transfer budget and wage structure well below what he would have hoped for from Marcus Evans, with Financial Fair Play in mind, it doesn’t look like it is going to be anything but a long, hard summer of wheeling and dealing.
One thing I don’t want to see though is another heavy reliance on loanees, with us having to pay for two at times last season that weren’t even eligible to play, as we were so over-loaded with them.
Of the current crop of borrowed players, Daryl Murphy has to be the top target to nail down on a full-time basis, with his versatility, aerial presence and work-rate key attributes.
Former Bristol City skipper Cole Skuse is first through the door, but despite the feel-good factor which greeted the end of 2012/13 for Blues’ fans, chief scout Dave Bowman and his team will need to unearth a few more of their famous diamonds from the rough if we are to be cashing in on promotion via the play-offs this time next year.
n Thanks for following the column this season and I hope to bring some more positive analysis on the Super Blues during 2013/14.