Could Ipswich be a dark horse in the 2013/14 Championship season?

Mick-McCarthy

Despite the fact that there has not been a lot of transfer activity for Ipswich Town so far this summer, there is an element of optimism amongst Tractor Boys fans.

However, the bookmakers do not appear to agree with this optimism as most bookies have placed nine teams ahead of Ipswich as favorites for promotion. As expected some of the shortest odds are for the three recently relegated Premier League teams but also the likes of Bolton, Leicester, Forest, Watford, Brighton and Leeds have been highlighted as promotion candidates.

Obviously these odds are likely to change slightly when more transfer activity occurs, but right now they suggest that some neutral parties are ranking Ipswich as slight outsiders for promotion.

The key point to remember is that we are still in the early stages of summer and a lot of clubs will not have completed the bulk of their business until a much later date. The only real business that has been announced for Ipswich has been that the club have retained the services of former loan players Daryl Murphy and Jay Tabb.

Of course the addition of two solid players is a good sign for Mick McCarthy’s side but there are still plenty of signings to be made and the quality of these signings will largely dictate whether Ipswich are contenders in the 13/14 season.

The problem with a lot of Tractor Boy’s fans making predictions of a top six finish is that they are assuming that McCarthy will make some great signings. Whilst the former Wolves boss has plenty of contacts and has a knack for finding bargains, convincing top Championship players to join a team that has at times been struggling to stay in the division will be a real tough task.

Financial fair play rules will instantly set the Suffolk side back too as other teams will be able to allocate much larger sums of money towards wages or transfer fees. Additionally, the club’s location has worked as a disadvantage in the past with players opting to move to London clubs over a move to East Anglia.

Without a doubt Mick McCarthy has the ability to make great bargain signings that other managers couldn’t make but whether he will do this at Ipswich remains to be seen. I do feel that the bookmakers have slightly underestimated the strength of the management duo of McCarthy and Terry Connor though.

I don’t think any other Championship manager could have achieved the points per game ratio that the Ipswich boss maintained once he took over and he was without a doubt the manager of the season for me.

Overall, I think its premature to be making precise predictions for the 13/14 season.

Based on what we know at present I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ipswich finish anywhere between 1st and 10th and I think that is as accurate as you can be at this stage. The Tractor Boys could easily be the dark horse of the season but they need to make some key signings before anyone gets too carried away.