Home BETTING TIPS McKenna will have a higher platform than ever before, next season.

McKenna will have a higher platform than ever before, next season.

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Sport

When Kieran McKenna was appointed Ipswich Town manager in December 2021, The Tractor Boys were in a bad way. They were slumped in 12th place in the third tier of English football with no sign of improvement coming any time soon. After three seasons in League One, Ipswich were facing up to an extended period in the lower leagues.

Under McKenna, though, the landscape has completely changed at Portman Road. The 37-year-old has led Ipswich to promotion in back-to-back seasons with Saturday’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town sending The Tractor Boys back to the Premier League for the first time since 2001.

While Ipswich Town are backed by an American investment fund and are sponsored by celebrity fan Ed Sheeran, they have spent just £6m over the last two seasons. McKenna’s squad was assembled through loan signings and free transfers yet Ipswich have earned a reputation for being one of the most dynamic, entertaining teams in the country.

McKenna likes his side to play with the ball. Ipswich Town play out from the back and bream down opponents through their intelligent and quick use of possession. McKenna has maximised the talent within the Portland Road dressing room by imposing a clear identity and style of play that makes The Tractor Boys much more than the sum of their parts.

Naturally, McKenna’s success has drawn a number of admirers. Brighton are reported to be lining up the former Manchester United assistant in the case that Roberto De Zerbi leaves the club this summer. West Ham were also linked with McKenna before making their move for Julen Lopetegui who will take over from David Moyes at the end of the season.

For the time being, though, McKenna is seemingly intent on seeing through the job at Ipswich Town. While the Northern Irishman is no stranger to the environment of the Premier League having worked alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United, he will be a manager in his own right at the top level next season. McKenna will have a higher platform than ever before.

“I love it here,” McKenna said when asked about his future. “I’m so proud to be the manager of this football club, I’ve given so much of myself, and I’m just so focused on enjoying that journey. The speculation has been there for the last two years, to be honest, and I’ve shown loyalty to the club. I’m pleased I’ve stuck with it. There’s some big and exciting steps to come.”

Burnley, Luton Town and Sheffield United’s struggles in the Premier League this season have led some to conclude that the gap between England’s top flight and second division has never been wider. After all, it was only 12 months ago that Burnley won the Championship with a record points tally playing a modern style of football similar to the one favoured by McKenna and they could go straight back down.

Next season will be a challenging one for Ipswich. They must strengthen their squad this summer if they are to stand any chance of staying up in the Premier League. McKenna has proved himself as a maximiser of talent, but he’s not a miracle worker – the Portman Road ownership must give him the tools to succeed.

In McKenna, Ipswich Town have the most exciting young manager in English football and they must support him in any way they can. Next season will be a challenging one for The Tractor Boys back in the Premier League, but it could also be a special one with a special managerial talent at the helm.