Ipswich did much of their January business early... but there are still issues to resolve on deadline day
PUBLISHED: 20:45 30 January 2019
ANDY WARREN looks at the issues needing resolutions at Ipswich Town before the January transfer window closes at 11pm tomorrow night.
Room for one more?
The Blues have brought in six new faces during the January transfer window and have done their business early.
Callum Elder, Will Keane, Collin Quaner, James Collins, Simon Dawkins and Alan Judge have all arrived at Portman Road, bringing a new look to Paul Lambert’s side.
The Ipswich boss has stated on a number of occasions that if the right player and the right deal is available, he would be open to adding to his squad again before the deadline.
But he’s also mindful of the fact bringing in a sixth loan player, when you can only use five in a matchday squad, would be difficult to manage and that he would ideally like to avoid a squad overhaul in any given window.
As a result, there is a sense that Ipswich Town’s incoming January business may be done.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of the squad he would like to strengthen, though.
Matthew Pennington has performed well in the centre of the Ipswich defence this season and is now doing the same at right-back, which has proved a problem position all season and was one Lambert surely wished to strengthen, while an experienced central midfielder and an impactful wide man may also have been on his agenda this month.
It remains to be seen if ‘the right deal’ presents itself before the 11pm deadline.
How does the Knudsen situation play out?
The Dane’s Ipswich career is coming to an end. It’s just a question of when.
He’s out of contract in the summer, has openly stated he’s looking at new challenges and hasn’t played for Ipswich since Boxing Day after Lambert stood the wantaway defender down from duty.
Clubs in the Championship, Germany and Denmark have all shown interest in the international defender but, so far, no deal has been done.
He can sign a pre-contract agreement abroad immediately, ahead of a summer move, but interested clubs both at home and on the continent may fancy a late move to secure his services immediately.
Given the circumstances, it’s unlikely the Blues would be able demand any significant fee for the 26-year-old and it’s entirely possible the Dane will remain an Ipswich player until the summer.
In that scenario the question becomes whether Lambert feels there is any way back in terms of first-team football and whether Knudsen can still offer something in the club’s battle against the drop even though his future lies elsewhere.
A likely departure
Irish midfielder Shane McLoughlin is set to leave Portman Road before the window closes.
He’s made just two appearances in an Ipswich shirt despite impressing in the Under 23s and is now set to begin his senior career in earnest with AFC Wimbledon in League One.
It’s understood he will leave Ipswich on a free transfer and sign an 18-month deal with the Dons.
Janoi Donacien and Jordan Roberts became the first of Paul Hurst’s summer buys to move away from Portman Road, with the pair joining Accrington Stanley and Lincoln on loan earlier this month.
The likes of Kayden Jackson, Jon Nolan, Gwion Edwards and Ellis Harrison have all dropped down the pecking order following the arrival of Lambert’s January signings, which have swelled the Blues’ first-team squad to more than 30.
There has been loan interest from League One in Nolan, most notably from Peterborough, while interest in Jackson has ended when it’s been realised he can’t play for a third team this season given he started Accrington’s opening-day defeat to Gillingham.
Third tier clubs may fancy their chances during the final day of the transfer window, given these are players who built their reputations at that level, but Lambert has stated he wants players to stay, fight for their places and help the Blues dig themselves out of trouble.
Ipswich Town’s Under 23 side are flying high at the top of their league this season, with a number of young players along the way impressing.
They will want to finish that job but there may also be a chance for some of the Blues’ younger players to get first-team experience lower down the football pyramid.
Tristan Nydam, Josh Emmanuel and Ben Morris have been out on loan already this season, to St Johnstone, Shrewsbury and Forest Green respectively, but all three are likely to stay at Portman Road for the rest of the season. Morris is in a similar situation to Jackson, having already played for two clubs this season.
The likes of Barry Cotter, Conor McKendry, Aaron Drinan and Harry Wright may all benefit from senior football, perhaps even in the National League but, then again, they may just fancy staying to finish what they started.