Norwood's goals are grabbing the headlines... but a string of Town players are quietly impressing in pre-season
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 July 2019
James Norwood's four goals have made him the standout player of Ipswich Town's pre-season. ANDY WARREN looks at the other Blues impressing this summer.
The signing of James Norwood has been the centre-piece of Ipswich Town's transfer business this summer with the striker beginning life in blue with four goals in just 120 minutes of action.
But don't sleep on striker Kayden Jackson, who was signed for more than £1.5million just a year ago and has himself performed well during the opening weeks of pre-season.
He impressed during his 45 minutes against Paderborn, winning and then converting a penalty following a good run into the box, before threatening throughout the 45-minute game with Meppen at the Interwetten Cup. He scored in the shootout, too.
He was perhaps guilty of snatching at chances in Germany but that was not the case at Colchester.
The 25-year-old was on the scoresheet within two minutes of coming on against Town's Essex neighbours, positioning himself superbly to convert Andre Dozzell's pull-back, before turning provider for Norwood's third goal.
His second of the game was excellent, twisting in turning inside the penalty area before finishing emphatically.
Jackson and Norwood played in a front two for 30 minutes at the Community Stadium and the Blues were a real handful throughout that time.
Having favoured one-up-front for the vast majority of his Town tenure, it remains to be seen if manager Paul Lambert will give the duo the chance to flourish as a pair.The early signs were good, though.
Winger Rowe was fast becoming Ipswich Town's forgotten man.
He's never been able to nail down a regular place under three Town managers, after Mick McCarthy signed him from Macclesfield for £100,000 in January 2017.
He's been loaned to Lincoln by both McCarthy and Lambert and played just 11 minutes of league football under Paul Hurst, but is back this summer and is staking a claim.
He's been a notable performer in all three of his pre-season outings to date, combining well with Jackson in the clashes with Paderborn and Meppen before topping those with an excellent display against Colchester.
Playing on the right, where he can cut inside on his left foot, he's created chances and hustled away to push defenders into mistakes.
With Gwion Edwards (groin) and Jack Lankester (back) struggling with injuries, Rowe has a chance to make his mark.
The skipper once again figures to be a key man for the Blues this season.
He's come back refreshed, both physically and mentally, following a draining season for all associated with Ipswich Town.
Chambers is free of the injuries which dogged his campaign, playing with a broken wrist and having blood drained from his foot to allow him to play in big games.
He's looking in good physical shape, too, and while his pre-season displays have not been packed with highlight reel entries he's looked comfortable at the back.
The 33-year-old is moving well, has made good blocks and is tracking runners into the channels.
His experience will again be vital in such a young Town squad.
The homegrown midfielder burst onto the scene during pre-season in 2017 and, while not grabbing the attention in the same way this summer, he's showing real signs of progress.
His performance at Colchester on Friday night was mature and confident, as he ensured the Blues had a platform to play from in midfield.
There's an argument to say that he is the most-rounded and best-prepared of the Ipswich Town youngsters for what lies ahead and he figures to be a big player for Lambert this season.
The Welshman has not played a competitive games since December 2017 and, while we shouldn't be getting ahead of ourselves at the prospect of a fully-fit Huws in the Ipswich midfield just yet, this pre-season has been an extremely positive one.
The fact he's played 120 minutes in three games over three consecutive weekends is a big step for the former Cardiff man, whose previous comeback attempts have never really got off the ground.
He's shown glimpses of his ability on the ball, box-to-box drive and desire to win possession back, whetting the appetite for more.
Patience is required, but so is a dose of positivity given how big an asset we know he can be.