Nine players from League One, League Two and the National League that Ipswich Town could turn to
PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 May 2017
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Part of Ipswich Town’s ‘five-point plan’ is to sign players for sensible fees and then develop them for the future. STUART WATSON looks at nine players from the lower divisions who may fit the bill this summer.
The former Everton prodigy was blighted by injuries early in his career, failed to make an impact at Norwich, had a couple of decent years at Huddersfield and then flopped at Birmingham. His career looks back on the up now though after netting 24 goals for a struggling Bury side that only just avoided League One relegation.
He’s a non-stop runner with pace and an eye for goal. He’s also got an aggressive edge that leads to many silly cards (remember that red at Portman Road for throwing the ball in Jonas Knudsen’s face?).
Now enters the last year of his deal and has remained coy about his future. Talent belongs in the Championship.
Club: Scunthorpe United
The former England Under-20 international made a handful of Premier League and Championship appearances for Blackburn, but has largely played in the lower tiers with the likes of Yeovil, Rotherham, Carlisle, Fleetwood (all loans) and Bradford in recent years.
Has just enjoyed a glorious debut season for Scunthorpe, scoring 19 goals and providing 11 league assists as the Iron finished third in League One before losing to Millwall in the play-off semi-finals.
Described as a hard-working, intelligent midfielder with pace and skill, he scored some stunning goals from set-pieces and open play. Several Championship clubs were linked back in January. Still has another two years on his Glanford Park deal.
Club: Cambridge United
Boy how Town need someone who can regularly contribute goals from the middle of the park. Berry did that a staggering 22 times for a Cambridge United side who finished 11th in League Two last season.
Town will be well aware of his progress given he caught the eye against them in a pre-season game just along the A14 at The Abbey Stadium last summer.
He still has two years left on his deal and chief executive Jez George says the club is under no pressure to sell.
Club: Exeter City
The rapid front man, who is comfortable with both feet, contributed 21 goals and 16 assists as Exeter made the League Two Play-Off Final.
He’s followed in the footsteps of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli in being named EFL Young Player of the Season and has been linked with both Leeds and Derby.
Boss Paul Tisdale said: “We’ll have to wait and see. It depends on who it is, whether we feel it’s the right time for us to sell him and the amount. At some point he’ll go on to bigger things.”
Club: Plymouth Argyle
The exciting Irish midfielder has blossomed under the management of Derek Adams, first at Ross County and then Plymouth.
He scored 15 goals and provided 15 assists as the Devon outfit secured automatic promotion to League One, but is now out-of-contract and admits he will consider his future over the coming weeks.
An expert crosser, he can play anywhere down the left side. Loves to take people on, gets fans off their seats and is a free-kick and long throw specialist.
The 6ft 1in Kent-born front man bagged 30 goals in the 2015/16 season for National League South side Ebbsfleet in 2015/16, then followed that up with 21 goals for mid-table League Two side Stevenage.
Boro boss Darren Sarll said: “When I met him for the first time I just couldn’t believe how ambitious he was and how much belief he had in himself, but it never once turned into an arrogance or flashiness.
“He wants to run in behind and score and that is a dying breed. He also has that willingness to really work hard for the team. He can definitely go another league up and probably again. There are certainly worse forwards in the Championship right now.”
Was highly-rated after progressing through Carlisle’s youth system, has enjoyed two good years at Blackpool following a £250k switch and now looks ready to progress after clocking up close to 200 appearances in the bottom two tiers.
An imposing figure at 6ft 2in, he scored 12 goals and provided seven assists as the Tangerines made the League Two Play-Off Final. There have been question marks over his consistency, but could well be worth a punt for a compensation fee now he’s out of contract.
Was linked with a £500k switch to Town back in January, while Charlton are also reportedly interested.
Everyone is rightly raving about Lincoln City centre-half Sean Raggert, but Aldershot skipper Reynolds has also been impressive in non-league’s top-flight this season.
Aldershot conceded just 37 goals in 46 games to finish fifth before losing to Tranmere in the play-off semi-finals. The former Boreham Wood and England C capped defender has been described as a ‘genuine leader’.
Town will know all about him having kept a close eye on Kundai Benyu during his loan spell with the Shots.
Club: Forest Green
Prising Alex Woodyard away from Lincoln would be tough, so Noble is a more realistic midfield option from the National League.
The ex-Sunderland youth teamer, who had six seasons in the Football League with Carlisle and Notts County, has just played an integral role in Forest Green’s promotion via the play-offs.
Ex-Brighton player turned pundit Adam Virgo said: “If a manager came to me and said, ‘Pick one player in the National League,’ I’d say Liam Noble. In my opinion, he is the best player in the division, ability wise. He’s had 20 assists in the league. He set up a goal against Dover where he came in off the line, played a ball around the corner, got it back and played a little through ball. I thought, ‘That’s not National League, you see that in the Championship’. I know his disciplinary record in the past has been iffy but Mark Cooper has given him the captaincy and he’s thrived. He’s so talented.”