Perhaps Arsenal should have anticipated Manchester City’s tendency to embark on a rampaging springtime run, as Pep Guardiola’s team took full advantage of their stumbling opponents to move to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since February. However, even the likes of Erling Haaland, Kevin de Bruyne, and others would struggle to match the remarkable standards set by Kieran McKenna’s Ipswich Town over the past two-and-a-half months, writes the HITC.
Following a run of only one win in eight League One games after Christmas, their automatic promotion prospects were in jeopardy. But after a 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers on February 14th, Ipswich put the pedal to the metal, turned on the nitrous, and cruised past almost every opponent, like a Formula 1 car passing a fleet of hatchbacks.
In rather fitting style, Ipswich secured their promotion back to the Championship on Saturday with a 6-0 obliteration of Exeter City at Portman Road, marking their 13th win in 14 games. Believe it or not, their aggregate score over that glorious 10-week period was an astonishing 42-2. While much of the credit will go to head coach McKenna, who resembles Sam Fender, the team’s success is also owed to the recruitment department. Ipswich website TWTD has labeled the 2023 January transfer window as perhaps “the club’s best ever,” and special praise must go to George Hirst, Harry Clarke, Massimo Luongo, and, in particular, Nathan Broadhead, who helped transform a struggling team into genuine pace-setters. “I think the boys who came in in January have done terrific,” McKenna explains.
Ipswich reportedly paid £1.5 million to sign Broadhead from Everton in January following a difficult loan spell a division above at Sunderland. Like fellow Goodison Park graduates Ellis Simms and Preston’s Tom Cannon, Broadhead has taken on a talismanic role in new surroundings, repaying that hefty transfer fee with considerable interest through a tally of eight goals and five assists in just 16 League One starts.
Broadhead has played a major role in Ipswich’s remarkable winning run since joining from Everton. However, it was his contribution in Ipswich’s only draw since mid-February that will be remembered by some. Broadhead initiated a fightback from a 2-0 deficit against promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday with a sumptuous free-kick.
Ipswich team-mate Leif Davis said: “I’d never seen him take a free-kick in training. But he just said he was going to take it,”
“I let him have it and he did that. It was an unbelievable strike, and I think he’s claiming them from that side now. Hopefully he does that every week.
“I thought ‘Chappers’ (Conor Chaplin) might take it, because he’s unbelievable at them too. But Broady said ‘I’m having this’ and sticks it in the top corner off the crossbar.”