Monday Verdict: Key elements to Ipswich Town success may already be in their ranks
PUBLISHED: 12:08 09 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:54 09 May 2016
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Ipswich Town's final two games of the Championship season may well have been dead-rubbers, but there is no denying the returns of Teddy Bishop and David McGoldrick have given Blues' fans hope for the future.
The creative duo have been sidelined through injury for much of the season and that has contributed to a dearth of quality in the final third when the team needed it the most.
MK Dons and promotion-chasing Derby, the latter who fell to McGoldrick’s 34th-minute winner at the i-Pro Stadium on Saturday – the Blues winning 1-0 – may have lacked their normal intensity as the regular season drew to a close, but you can’t deny the influence that Town’s talented duo had.
McGoldrick, playing as a lone striker, did his chances of making the Republic of Ireland squad for this summer’s European Championships no harm with a performance that oozed attacking menace, guile and no shortage of defending from the front.
The former Nottingham Forest man demands the ball, links up play excellently and brings his team-mates into the game. More importantly, his presence reduces the necessity for long, hopeful balls to be played out of defence by Ipswich’s back four.
As for Bishop, the youngster buzzed around the pitch for just over an hour as he stepped up his fitness, causing the Rams’ rearguard all kinds of problems with his vision and running from deep positions.
His tenacity could not be questioned either, marauding his way through to win Town’s penalty at the i-Pro – the Blues’ academy product forcing a clumsy challenge from Richard Keogh. The duo, Bishop in particular, were integral at times in Town’s play-off push last season and without them, Ipswich are a shadow of the side that finished sixth last May.
The prolonged absence of Ryan Fraser was also a big blow and the thought of the young Scot linking up with Bishop and McGoldrick makes the mouth water and suggests Town would have all but certainly made the five points up they were short on Sheffield Wednesday for that final play-off spot.
If Town’s returning duo can get through the summer, then surely one or two additions will see them there or thereabouts next season.
Given the fact that between them, Bishop, Fraser and McGoldrick did not cost a penny in transfer fees suggests that if McCarthy can recapture his magic in terms of recruitment, then Town may not have to spend much ahead of next season.
With teenagers Myles Kenlock and Adam McDonnell also impressing, and fellow youngsters Josh Emmanuel and Andre Dozzell having also done well in recent games, with a little sprinkle of experience, the key to the Promised Land may already be housed within the confines of Portman Road.