Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher: Blues must sign another centre back

Luke Chambers is staying at Town. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Luke Chambers is staying at Town. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Former Ipswich Town centre-back Terry Butcher is delighted that the club have retained Luke Chambers’ services and says the returns to fitness of Tommy Smith and Adam Webster will be like bringing in two new signings.

Chambers’ future at Portman Road was in doubt until recently, the Blues only taking up their option to extend the out-of-contract star’s deal by a further year towards the end of the recent campaign.

The 31-year-old will definitely be a Blues player for another season but, having worked his way back to his favoured centre-half spot, could face competition from Smith and Webster, depending on the formation that manager Mick McCarthy elects to play.

Not that Town are awash with options at the heart of the defence, with Christophe Berra having returned to Scotland for personal reasons and Paul Digby having been released, leaving Butcher to believe Town need another body in there at the back.

“I like Luke Chambers, he is an honest guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and can be particularly horrible in that position when he has to be,” said Butcher, who was himself, a hard-as-nails centre-back.

“Tommy Smith is the same and will be like a new signing, as will Adam Webster, who will have learned a lot in every Town game he played last season.

“All three will be needed as it is going to be another long season.”

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With that in mind, would Butcher like to see all three players feature in the same side, McCarthy having gone with a three-man defence towards the back end of the season.

Voters on our online poll called for the trio to play together, with 42% plumping for a three-man defence, 29% going for Webster and Chambers and 23% opting for Webster and Smith.

“We have three centre-halves, but I guess you could mix and match and play (Josh) Emmanuel in there,” Butcher added.

“If they (Chambers, Smith and Webster) all play, then you haven’t really got any cover if one of them gets injured or picks up a suspension, so I think Mick (McCarthy) would be looking to bring another one in.”

That could be free agent Steven Taylor who, having ended the season at Town, has been invited back to attend pre-season training.

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