There was plenty of optimism surrounding Ipswich Town in the summer following a good transfer window, but six weeks into the season the side had just three points. Rovers’ heavy defeat to the Tractor Boys provided a bit of a springboard for Ipswich who have climbed the table since and find themselves in ninth place.
McKenna's appointment has sparked an even better run by the side who have learned to win ugly as well as play good football.
Fans who made the journey to Portman Road will be well aware of the threats the tractor boys carry but here are some ones to watch:
Born in Ipswich, Macauley Bonne signed with the Tractor Boys on a season-long loan in June 2021 from parent club Queens Park Rangers. He scored his first Ipswich goal in the 91st minute of a 2-2 draw with Morecambe, helping the Blues to earn a point.
Before his current loan spell with Ipswich, the Zimbabwe international began his youth career at his childhood club from 2003-09. He started his senior career with Colchester United, staying four seasons at the club while going on to score seven goals in 75 appearances. In 2017, he signed on with Leyton Orient, staying two years with the club from 2017-19, seeing action in more than 90 games and scoring in excess of 45 goals across all competition for the club.
Bonne moved on to Charlton Athletic in 2019, initially signing on a three-year deal for the club. He would go on to score in four consecutive matches towards the middle-half of the season, breaking into the line-up following a pair of injuries to two starters for the Lee Bowyer coached side. He signed for QPR in October 2020, signing a three-year deal with the club. Despite much speculation as to whether QPR would recall him from his loan during the January transfer window, Ipswich did, in fact, announce that he would see out his loan spell with the club until the end of the season. In 2021/22 with the Tractor Boys, Bonne leads all performers with 12 goals scored, adding two assists in the process.
He is averaging 0.43 goals per game to go along with 30 shots on target for the season. He is hitting the target at a 45.5% success rate, adding 1.08 shots on target per game. He is scoring 0.40 goals per shots on target, in addition to 1.08 shots per game.
The captain on the pitch for Ipswich Town, centre-back George Edmundson signed for the Tractor Boys in July 2021, arriving to Portman Road from parent club Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.
Born and raised in Manchester, Edmundson began his youth career in the Oldham Athletic Academy system, before eventually signing his first professional contract to join the club in 2015. He would stay with the club until 2019, serving three loan outings during his time at Boundary Park, with stops at Ramsbottom United (2015), Alfreton Town (2016) and AFC Fylde (2017-18). In all at Oldham, Edmundson scored three goals and appeared in more than 65 games for the club from 2015-19.
He was named Oldham’s Players’ Player of the Season following the 2018/19 season. In June 2019, he made the move north of the border to sign with Rangers for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut for the club against St. Joseph’s (Gibraltar) in the second leg of a Europa League qualifying round.
He made a loan move to Derby County in February 2021, playing in 10 matches, and helping the Rams stay in the Championship on the final day of the season. This season with Ipswich Town, the captain has featured and started in 27 games for the Tractor Boys, scoring two goals and assisting on two further goals from his defensive position on the pitch. He is second on the team with 38 interceptions, and third on the squad with 23 tackles won, while playing a total of 2,430 minutes across all competitions.
Lee Evans is a Welsh international footballer that arrived to Portman Road in June 2021, coming to Ipswich Town from his third spell with Wigan Athletic. Throughout his noted career, Evans has served a number of clubs in the Championship. The midfielder spent five years at Wolves (2013-18), where he played in 59 games and scored three goals for Wolves, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League in winning the Championship in 2017/18.
He’s also served loan spells with Bradford City (2015-16) and Wigan Athletic (2017-18) before eventually signing a permanent two-year contract with the Latics in 2019.
On the international level, Evans began with the Wales U21 side in 2013, before eventually earning his first senior call-up in 2017. He would make his senior debut in October 2017, as part of a draw with Panama. This season with Ipswich Town, Evans has featured in 26 games for the Tractor Boys, scoring three goals and registering two assists. He leads the squad with 121 crosses delivered, while being fouled a joint team-high 28 times. He has picked up 17 interceptions and 22 tackles won in defence.
A player who spent seven years in the Arsenal Youth Academy, Willesden-born Dominic Thompson is a left-back for the Tractor Boys, arriving to the club before the end of the January transfer window on loan from parent club Brentford of the Premier League.
In August 2019, Thompson signed a three-year contract to join Brentford, playing behind Rico Henry in the left-back position for the Bees. He made nine appearances for the club in the Championship during the first-half of the 2020/21 season, before going on loan to Swindon Town in January 2021.
He made 25 appearances for the team throughout the rest of the season. At the start of the 2021/22 season, Thompson played in all of the Bees pre-season matches, but later played only in Carabao Cup games. He would appear in three games for the Bees during the always-busy holiday fixture list during December and January, before moving on to Ipswich Town on loan for the rest of the 2021/22 season. He has featured in the last two games for the Tractor Boys, including the team’s 1-0 win at home against Gillingham in their last match. In two games for the Tractor Boys so far, Thompson has delivered six crosses into box, collected a pair of interceptions in defence, and won three tackles.