Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon previews the 2016-17 season
Like England’s European Championships the summer at Portman Road promised much but was ultimately truly underwhelming.
Expectations Marcus Evans was finally ready to provide the necessary investment for a real go at promotion were only heightened when Portsmouth youngster Adam Webster was snapped up for around £750,000 in early June.
But until this week, Paul Digby’s inevitable permanent switch aside, the tumbleweed could almost be heard blowing around Portman Road.
Winger Grant Ward’s arrival from Spurs, for a fee reported to be in the region of £600k, has kept to the young-and-hungry philosophy though. And someone with pace and an ability to make things happen is just what the doctor ordered after some of the staid football dished up at the back end of 2015/16.
I can’t understate the importance of keeping hold of the creative forces of David McGoldrick and Teddy Bishop though.
Having both of them fit to add to a squad that came close to a play-off spot last term will be like having two new players.
But strength in depth, particularly in the wide areas, is the real concern on the eve of our 15th successive Championship season — and must be something that is addressed fast.
Pre-season is always hard to judge but it certainly hasn’t filled me with confidence ahead of newly-promoted Barnsley visiting tomorrow (3pm), particularly as the opposition offered up were not of the standard we will be up against week-in, week-out.
Having said that, if we get a good start I believe we’re capable of pushing for a top six spot again, even in a stronger looking league.
If you ask me now, I’d say we would end up short again, but that transfer window is far from closed yet.