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Leicester City 11/12 Opponents Preview – Ipswich Town

Welcome to another Npower Championship preview for the 2011/2012 season, this time around I will turn my attentions to Paul Jewell’s Ipswich Town. Ipswich have had a couple of mediocre campaigns in the Championship in recent years, but can they improve and be the surprise package or will another mid-table season be in store for the Portman Road faithful…

Ipswich Preview
Ipswich Town have been very disappointing in previous Npower Championship campaigns. Many managers have been tried and tested in the Ipswich hotseat, but have failed to deliver any real promotion challenges. Both Jim Magilton and Roy Keane have waved goodbye to Portman Road in recent campaigns; however the task of getting Ipswich Town amongst the Championship elite again has now been left in the hands of Paul Jewell. The Tractor Boys have found life difficult as the fans have endured some very mediocre campaigns of late, this season though a lot of optimism will be flying around Portman Road, despite losing teenage sensation Connor Wickham to Sunderland aswell as Gareth McAuley who has also departed to the Premier League, Jewell has invested in some top class signings. Experienced Championship players such as Michael Chopra and Ivar Ingimarsson have joined Jewell’s revolution, while up and coming pair of David Stockdale and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas have also entered the fray. Paul Jewell has brought incredibly well this summer, as this is an incredible opportunity for Ipswich Town to eventually challenge for promotion, after their dismal efforts in recent campaigns.

Key Players
Currently the Ipswich Town defence on paper doesn’t look the strongest around; however in midfield the Tractor Boys have an assortment of qualities from defensive players to skilful attacking players. Ipswich has a very competitive midfield, and the new signings of Lee Bowyer and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas have boosted the competition for places to a whole new level, the veteran legs of Lee Bowyer are still going strong, one of the most dependable players in the Ipswich set up Bowyer’s experience and knowledge of the game will certainly help. Grant Leadbitter could also be a key figure in the Ipswich Town midfield, a very attacking minded player Leadbitter loves to tackle and get his feet on the ball, noted for his rocket shots the highly regarded 25 year old is one of the most important players in the Ipswich team. Finally the departure of Connor Wickham has made way for the signing of Michael Chopra; supposedly a replacement for Wickham the effective 27 year old has always been noted to be one of the best goalscorers in this division. Ipswich have a very compacted unit of talented players, if the side comes together as a whole promotion could well be possible.

Manager – Paul Jewell
After a two year absence from management, Paul Jewell returned to action in 2011 as he was appointed the new manager of Ipswich Town, replacing the departed Roy Keane who was sacked at the beginning of the New Year. With only a couple of months to make amends, Jewell was able to make steady progress with Ipswich Town as he guided them to a 13th placed finish in season 10/11. This season Jewell can start from scratch and hopefully build a team which is capable of promotion, he is more than capable of turning fortunes around at Portman Road as the East Anglian side have had some tough years in the Championship of late. He is building a very neat squad but whether he can get his side to gel is another matter, Jewell could do very well at Ipswich but if he doesn’t get off to a fantastic start frustrations may start to kick in amongst fans and especially the backroom staff.

Ins and Outs
Ins – Michael Chopra(Cardiff), Ivar Ingimarsson(Reading), Nathan Ellington(Watford), Aaron Cresswell(Tranmere), Lee Bowyer(Birmingham), David Stockdale(Fulham), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas(Arsenal)

Outs – David Norris(Portsmouth), Gareth McAuley(West Brom), Connor Wickham(Sunderland), Troy Brown(Rotherham), Tom Eastman(Colchester), Brian Murphy(Released), Kevin Lisbie(Released), Luciano Civelli(Released)

Overall Thoughts
A delightful opportunity of promotion could well arise at Portman Road in 2011/2012, Jewell has invested heavily in some talented signings. With competition for places in many positions Ipswich Town on paper have their best chance of a play-off place, with mediocre finishes happening too often, this season could see a change in fortunes as I believe that the Tractor Boys are capable of finishing in the play-off places. Prediction – 6th

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