O'Neill on season tickets, planning for League One and futures of Judge, Keane and Collins

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:27 20 March 2019

Ipswich Town's general manager of football operations watches on alongside the club's owner, Marcus Evans. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Ipswich Town's general manager of football operations watches on alongside the club's owner, Marcus Evans. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Andy Warren spoke to general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill about a range of Ipswich Town topics as the club continues to plan for the future.

Ipswich Town will release details of season ticket prices soon. Picture: STEVE WALLERIpswich Town will release details of season ticket prices soon. Picture: STEVE WALLER

O’Neill... on season tickets

“We’re trying really hard to get that decision out there in the next two or three weeks so that supporters know what the plan is for the club going forward.

“We have gone through a rigorous consultancy period looking at all the different options and we’re also working on two potential scenarios that could happen – staying in the Championship or dropping into League One.

“We hope it will be very soon and we’re working very hard behind the scenes to get everything in place for that.

“The idea is that once we’ve made that decision internally we will explain it to supporters about what we’re trying to do.

“(A considerable reduction in price) is an area we’ve looked at and during the consultation we have talked about all of that.

“We have looked at things like that and, while we can’t say for sure what that’s going to look like, it’s something we’ve definitely considered.

“From the fans’ point of view and from the club’s point of view it’s a big decision. When you look at the revenue around season tickets that’s very important for the club in the future.

“The fans have been brilliant and have been right behind the team, especially over the last three or four months when things haven’t been so great, so that is taken into consideration going into next season as well.”

O'Neill works closely with Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMO'Neill works closely with Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

O’Neill on... the chances of staying in the Championship

“It’s an incredibly hard task but anything is possible so we still have to focus on the belief we can try and do it until it’s no longer mathematically possible.

“But yes, no doubt about it’s a hard task to get the points that are needed to stay in the division.

“What has been promising though is some good performances against tough opposition and we’ll just have to see what happens.”

O’Neill on... planning for League One

“When I was asked this question three or four months ago I think, because of the situation we were in we had to be aware of what’s around the corner and what could happen.

“For most of the season we have looked at options for both divisions, although the primary option has obviously always been about staying in the Championship. It still will be until the last minute.

“But we haven’t taken our eye off the ball about what things might look like (in League One) and we’re in a position to plan effectively for that.”

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers has signed a new two-year deal with Ipswich Town. Picture: ITFCIpswich Town captain Luke Chambers has signed a new two-year deal with Ipswich Town. Picture: ITFC

O’Neill on... Chambers’ new contract

“It’s great to have young players coming through but it’s also vitally important to have experience to help those younger players.

“For Luke to have committed his future for the next two years is really important for the club.

“He’s been through good and bad times here and is able to help the young players in a lot of ways.”

Alan Judge has impressed since joining Ipswich Town. Picture: STEVE WALLERAlan Judge has impressed since joining Ipswich Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER

O’Neill on... Judge contract talks

“A lot of the players who have come in in January have done well and Alan Judge has done very, very well.

“That’s obviously something we’re looking at and trying to pursue.

“If we’re able to get that over the line then great.

“Money is always one part of a players contract but another part, which people sometimes forget, is the opportunity to play regularly in the team and be the focal point of the team.

Alan Judge is in the Republic of Ireland squad for clashes with Gibraltar and Georgia. Picture: PA SPORTAlan Judge is in the Republic of Ireland squad for clashes with Gibraltar and Georgia. Picture: PA SPORT

“Some players might go and get more money elsewhere but they might not always get as many minutes on the pitch.

“That’s one area to look at and the other is the style of play and environment around the club.

“There are a lot of things here that are really positive around our club so, for example, if we take Alan I know he’s really enjoying his football.

“That’s probably one of the reasons why he’s got his international call-up (for Ireland) again and he’s played more in the last few months than he has in the whole season,

“There is lots to look at in that situation and it won’t just be about the financial situation for the player

“We’re in conversation with him and we’d love to do something so if we can, we will.”

Will Keane is currently out with a hamstring injury. Picture PagepixWill Keane is currently out with a hamstring injury. Picture Pagepix

O’Neill on... Will Keane’s future

“We’ve not had any discussions at this stage but he’s been a key part of things and was doing very well up until the point he got injured.

“He is another who was enjoying his football here and that’s something we would love to do if we can look at that situation later on.

“At this moment in time the main concentrations for him is about getting him fit.”

James Collins is another who has had injury trouble. Photo: Steve WallerJames Collins is another who has had injury trouble. Photo: Steve Waller

O’Neill on... James Collins

“The experience James has is invaluable for us.

“For us it would be great if he was fit every week and we were able to draw upon his experience on the pitch but he’s of an age where we perhaps need to protect him with training and games programmes.

“When he’s fit he’s great and we’d love to have him around the team.”

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