3 Ipswich Town youngsters to watch out for in 2023
Sitting in the 2ndnd th place, Ipswich Town is well positioned for the coming year and has realistic ambitions to finally end four years in League One.
While the club’s high position and financial resources would normally limit opportunities for young players, an injury crisis in Kieran McKenna’s squad has presented some academy graduates with an opportunity to stake their claim on a place in the starting XI.
Here are the three youngsters most likely to make an impact at Ipswich Town in 2023…
The standout player on this list, Humphreys has been the biggest beneficiary of Ipswich’s busy treatment room, cementing a starting spot alongside Sam Morsy in central midfield.
The versatile 19-year-old played a key role in the Tractor Boys’ run to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals in 2021 and has ducked into first-team football, scoring in his first league start at Port Vale in October . His passing range was best demonstrated by a terrific through ball in Exeter City’s recent win, while his ability to collect the ball from central defenders and drive forward has drawn comparisons to former club captains Matt Holland and Jim Magilton.
If Town’s promotion indicts culprits, Humphreys will certainly have vultures circling his signature over the summer.
Baggott, an Indonesia international and also an FA Youth Cup semi-finalist, impressed on his league debut at Rotherham United in April.
He is currently on a season’s loan to Gillingham and has been a bright spark in a poor team and if he returns he could be in contention for the role of left centre-back in McKenna’s three-against-the-back system where George Edmundson is struggling sometimes on his weaker side.
As well as showing defensive maturity, Baggott has established himself as a standard threat with two league goals for Gillingham so far, and dead-ball specialist Leif Davis could provide him with the ammunition to add to that total at Portman Road.
19-year-old attacker Ward had his first chance in the 2021/22 pre-season but despite a promising cameo against Millwall, Town’s attacking depth meant he would likely always be fighting for game time.
Ward finally made his competitive debut in the win against Buxton and although primarily a winger he has developed versatility and an eye for goal with Under-23s; This makes him an outsider bet for an appearance in the number 10 role due to the absence of Tyreece John-Jules and Marcus Harness.
Even if Ward’s first-team ambitions don’t materialize with Town this season, a loan move further down the EFL could give him the stepping stone needed to slot into McKenna’s long-term plans.