'His attitude has been infectious' - McKenna praise for in-form Norwood
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Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna sees James Norwood as being a big part of his team between now and the end of the season.
The Blues’ No.10 is on a hot streak, having netted four goals in his last four League One games, having returned from a period training with Town’s Under 23s and being made available for transfer during the January window, prior to McKenna's arrival.
But, when asked whether he envisaged Norwood departing this month, McKenna insisted he wants the striker to remain with the club and that he’s been impressed with the 31-year-old's attitude during their time working together.
“He’s been an important part of the squad, there’s no doubt about that,” McKenna said.
“He’s been important in terms of goals and important in terms of performances and effort, while his attitude on the pitch has been infectious.
“He’s also been a good influence around the group in the time I’ve been here. He’s been training hard, has had his head down and is supporting his team-mates.
“I can say from the time I’ve been here that I’m happy working with him, he’s been working really hard for the team and he’s in-form.
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“I see him as an important part of the team at the moment.”
Norwood, along with the likes of Sone Aluko and Kayden Jackson, is out of contract at the end of the season, but McKenna is yet to think seriously about extending any of those deals at this stage.
“Not massively, not with the guys out-of-contract at the end of the season,” he said.
“We’ve only had two games so far with the squad that we have so we’re in dialogue about that. I’ve told Mark (Ashton, CEO) about the things I’ve been happy with and some others I feel we can improve upon.
“But I don’t think it’s the time yet to start talking too much about the squad for next season and what the balance might look like. It’s a little early for that because we want to look at this season and the players here now, as well as January.
“A little further down the line is the time to talk about next season and the players and squad we might like going into it.”
Norwood’s displays have seen him rewarded with the PFA’s League One player-of-the-month award for December, with McKenna pleased to see the striker rewarded but insisting the rest of the Ipswich side deserve a share of the credit, too.
“His goals are the headline and he’s scored for a few games in a row, but his work-rate on the pitch has been the big thing for me.
“The way he works for the team and without the ball have been great and he’s been able to adapt his position for the team when we need him to.
“Individual awards are nice but I’m sure James would say himself that the team is a big part of him getting that reward. He’s been scoring goals but it’s credit to the team on how they’ve supported him and credit to him on how he’s supported the team.”