There have been many things that Ipswich Town have been lacking on the pitch this season, but many have emphasised the need for a goal-scoring midfielder over anything else.
The likes of Luke Hyam and Guirane N’Daw have been great at supporting the defence and preventing the opposition’s creative players from having an impact, and whilst there hasn’t been much criticism aimed at either individual, some have pointed out that the midfield as a whole did not contribute much at all towards Ipswich’s goal tally this season.
So who is to blame for this lack of goals in midfield? Some have suggested that players like Lee Martin, Carlos Edwards and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas should be contributing more in that department. Others have said that the team need a change in system and players with attacking flair need to be brought into the club.
Mick McCarthy confused some fans with the recent signing of Bristol City’s Cole Skuse. The 27-year-old has only scored 9 goals in as many years at his former club, not exactly the type of midfielder fans were hoping for. Whilst there is no doubt that Skuse is a capable player in the Championship, he is known for his leadership and defensive capabilities rather than any offensive prowess.
However, right there I have touched on an important aspect of what McCarthy is creating at Ipswich; a team full of leaders. Players like Wordsworth, Skuse and Stearman are all players who have previously shown that they have a great mentality and the ability to lead, which is obviously an asset that the former Wolves boss holds in high regard.
It is looking likely that McCarthy will bring in more players with a strong mentality to add to those that I just mentioned, as well as the likes of Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith and Carlos Edwards who have also shown their desire to lead in the past.
You can’t argue with the logic that you need more than one leader, but the question still remains as to whether the Tractor Boys need a goal-scoring midfielder. One important fact to remember is that McCarthy ended the season with a points-per-game ratio better than what most teams in the play-offs maintained throughout the season. On top of that he did it without needing the midfield to chip in with many goals. The system that McCarthy used was fairly defensive and could be labelled as boring, but regardless it got results that almost any Championship team would be happy with.
I do agree that being able to change the way you play is important, so you do need a variety of players with different skills in each position. Skuse is likely to be a replacement for N’Daw and we could still see more midfielders joining the Suffolk side that can offer something different and perhaps some attacking talent. However, it is also important not to forget that Anthony Wordsworth had a decent goal-scoring record at Colchester (roughly one goal every five games) and hopefully he will be able to stay injury free next season.
So whilst we may not necessarily see Ipswich target a lot of attack-minded players over the summer transfer window, it is likely that we will see a lot of players come to Portman Road with the right attitude and mindset.