As a frankly depressing season in the Championship which resulted in relegation is now firmly in the back of the minds of all Ipswich Town fans, the Tractor Boys are gearing up for a season in unfamiliar territory in League One.
Paul Lambert, the man who is tasked with taking the club back to the Championship at the first time of asking, attempted to steady what was, essentially, a sinking ship and, in the end, despite some much improved performances it was all too little, too late.
The former Norwich City boss has certainly earned his chance to rebuild the club, though, and with his decent managerial CV and tactical nous, Ipswich should certainly head into the season in a buoyant, positive mood despite coming off the back of a depressing season in the Championship. The shackles are off, so to speak and, although the pressure will be on to win promotion, the players will hopefully adapt and enjoy their new League One surroundings.
It’ll be far from easy for Lambert’s Ipswich, though – ask Sunderland fans. The Black Cats had the biggest budget in League One last campaign but still failed to achieve what Ipswich’s objective is for the season ahead – going up. Odds on Ipswich winning promotion are currently priced at 2/1 (bet365), with Sunderland themselves taking up the tag as ‘favourites’ at 6/4 (bet365).
Bookmakers can often disagree on the odds, so you can click here to get a full list of top UK bookmakers supporting League One betting to compare prices. Yet, from what we can see so far from Bet365, the competition for Ipswich looks tough: Portsmouth (5/2), Rotherham (10/3), Peterborough (7/2) Fleetwood and Doncaster (both 5/1) will all fancy their chances of promotion to the Championship next season. Lambert might find that League One is no walk in the park.
Competition will certainly be strong for Ipswich, that’s for sure, but with one of the biggest budgets in the division and the opportunity to turn Portman Road into a fortress once again, the Tractor Boys will be expected to be there or thereabouts.
New additions, which are frankly desperately needed at the club, have already got underway too as Lambert looks to make his mark at the club and finally put his stamp on what is essentially previous manager Paul Hurst’s squad. James Norwood has joined the club from Tranmere Rovers after scoring 32 goals for the League One new boys last season and is the Tractor Boys’ third signing of the summer transfer window so far after goalkeepers Tomas Holy and Adam Przybek both joined.
Former AFC Wimbledon defender Dei Oshilaja, who is a free agent after leaving the Dons at the end of the season and nearly joined Ipswich in January, is continually linked with a move to the club. As is Gillingham striker Tom Eaves, who has been impressing in a Gills shirt since joining the club in 2017 and is potentially the ideal foil for James Norwood.
Things are certainly starting to take shape at Portman Road ahead of what is a humongous season for the club. In Paul Lambert many Ipswich fans trust, despite not perhaps feeling fully onboard with those above him at the club. A few impressive signings, much like the James Norwood’s of this world, plus a solid start to the League One campaign, could certainly quell any nerves and help mute any frustrations still lingering from last season.
Ipswich are on the comeback trail and despite being in a tough division, promotion is a must. A long, hard season is ahead but the Tractor Boys appear to be more than up to the task.