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Who is Mick McCarthy’s signing of the summer at Ipswich Town?

Bersant Celina has his shirt almost pulled off him by Gillingham's Mark Byrne. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Bersant Celina has his shirt almost pulled off him by Gillingham's Mark Byrne. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738

This could be the most pivotal summer in Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town managerial career.

Emyr Huws Emyr Huws

Starting his fifth full season in charge of Town, McCarthy heads into the new campaign with a year left on his contract, determined to address the problems that beset the Blues’ last season.

A lack of goals and a dearth of creativity were the main issues, leaving the boss in the stickiest situation of his near five-year tenure – the 58-year-old having initially pulled off a miracle to save Town from the drop in 2013, before crafting a top-six side that just fell short in 2014-15.

However, the 6-1 drubbing at Charlton, in the Blues’ last pre-season friendly on Saturday, raised issues of a different kind – the Blues seemingly having problems in defence, despite fielding an experienced line-up at The Valley.

Owner Marcus Evans has loosened the purse strings, while the exits of a number of players have freed up funds, but Town face starting the season against Birmingham, on Saturday, without new boys Joe Garner (Unspecified injury) and Bersant Celina (illness), and almost definitely missing Emyr Huws (Achilles) and Tom Adeyemi (illness).

Jordan Spence in action at Drogheda. Jordan Spence in action at Drogheda.

That could see Town line-up against Birmingham with a first XI made up entirely of players that contributed to last season’s struggles.

McCarthy needs his new boys back, before any talk of relegation rears its ugly head.

NEW SIGNINGS

BERSANT CELINA

Dominic Iorfa Dominic Iorfa

Arguably the most exciting yet, ironically, the biggest unknown quantity, 20-year-old Kosovo international Celina has joined the Blues on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City.

The youngster spent a successful loan period at FC Twente, in Holland, last season, netting five times in 28 games.

Has played just once for City and has yet to experience the Championship, but has already showed glimpses of his undoubted potential in pre-season.

Quick, direct and skilful, Celina is effective cutting in from the left wing on his right foot, possessing a wicked first touch and shot, and possesses the same sort of swagger as Tom Lawrence, which bodes well.

Tom Adeyemi Tom Adeyemi

EMYR HUWS

The midfielder’s hugely successful impact during his loan spell last season, meant Town fans were desperate to see the Welshman return permanently.

Signed chiefly to orchestrate proceedings from the centre of the park, Huws is the figurehead of what will hopefully be an exciting new era under McCarthy.

Owner Evans deserves credit in backing McCarthy’s faith in the midfielder, who has signed a four-year contract at Portman Road. This will be a massive season for Huws who has endured stop-start periods at Wigan and Cardiff.

Joe Garner under pressure from Lee Martin at Gillingham Joe Garner under pressure from Lee Martin at Gillingham

JORDAN SPENCE

Arrived in January with little fanfare, but cemented a place in the team, edging out Josh Emmanuel at right wing-back as the Blues deployed a 3-5-2 formation in order to rescue their faltering season.

The rangy defender is good going forward and should enjoy a good battle with fellow new signing Dominic Iorfa for a place.

DOMINIC IORFA

The defender has been a regular at Wolves and also an important part of the successful England Under-21s set-up.

However, the 6ft 4ins centre-back or right-back has been allowed to leave Wolves by new boss Santo and will be targeting a solid season in Suffolk.

A man-mountain in defence, Iorfa improved a shaky backline after being introduced at Charlton on Saturday.

TOM ADEYEMI

Has been sidelined with illness ever since arriving but, when fit, is a box-to-box, ball-winning midfielder with an eye for goal.

Starred in a poor Rotherham side last season and scored the winner against Town as the Millers won 1-0 in South Yorkshire, in April.

Adeyemi (25) has plenty of Championship experience under his belt with Leeds, Birmingham and Rotherham and his all-action style should be the perfect foil for Huws.

JOE GARNER

Didn’t score the goals expected of him at Rangers and, having never been prolific at Championship level before, will have a point to prove.

Adds aggression and tenacity to the Town attack and is good in the air, despite being under six foot.

Not a direct replacement for Daryl Murphy, but will have pressure on him to provide a focal point in an area which has been shorn of the talents of last season’s loan saviour, Tom Lawrence.

Ipswich Town U18 Academy boss Alan Lee is hoping his young charges can keep up the proud Blues tradition of success in youth football, with victory against Dagenham & Redbridge in the FA Youth Cup Fourth Round tonight, at Portman Road, 7pm ko.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes young defender Chris Smith returned from his loan spell at Chelmsford ‘more of a bloke’ and is hopeful he has a first team future.

Ipswich Town U23 3

QPR 0

Ben Morris hit a brace and Aaron Drinan opened his account in a blue shirt as an experienced Ipswich Town under 23 side eased past QPR 3-0 at Playford Road today, writes Kieren Standley.

FA Women’s Premier League

South East Division One

Ipswich Town 9

Haringey Borough 0

Ipswich Town Ladies bounced back from last Sunday’s disappointing FA Cup exit to Charlton with an emphatic 9-0 trouncing of bottom of the league Haringey Borough at the Goldstar Ground in Felixstowe, writes Kieren Standley.

Leeds United boss Thomas Christiansen is set to appeal the red card given to Eunan O’Kane following his altercation with Jonas Knudsen.

Episode Six: Stuart Watson and Andy Warren are back for another episode of the Kings of Anglia podcast to discuss the win over Leeds, Portman Road atmosphere and the latest transfer news.

Bersant Celina revealed just how much the adulation of the Ipswich Town fans means to him after his latest match-winning effort.

It’s that kind of season. Just when everything seems to be miserable, and the fans’ anger is mounting, along comes a victory to lighten the mood. At least temporarily, writes Northstander Terry Hunt.

Saturday was a much-needed day for Town fans, writes Karl Fuller.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy and former Blues boss Roy Keane could be in direct competition for the Republic of Ireland job if Martin O’Neill is lured to Stoke City, according to the Irish Sun.

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