Bolton Wanderers have decided to release Stephen Ireland from his short-term contract at the club despite the player regaining his fitness and featuring twice in the past two weeks for the development squad.
The Trotters signed Ireland following his release from Stoke City last summer and it seems a strange decision to release the creative midfielder with the club so desperate for goals. Bolton’s decision, however, could give fellow strugglers Ipswich Town a potential opportunity.
The Tractor Boys currently find themselves bottom of the Championship, five points from safety. Their 18 goals scored in 22 games is the fewest of any second-tier side bar Bolton who have netted just 15 times.
Manager Paul Lambert has a big job on his hands if he plans on preserving Ipswich’s Championship status, and in January he must add a bigger threat in the final third.
A recent report in the Telegraph claims Middlesbrough striker Rudy Gestede is a target, but just as important as a natural goal scorer is a player who can link the play and provide more from deep.
Grant Ward, Cole Skuse, Trevoh Chalobah, Jon Nolan, Flynn Downes and Gwion Edwards have all featured either in midfield or attacking wide areas this term, yet they have just four assists between them.
Ireland’s best days when he was a leading star for Manchester City and Aston Villa are no doubt behind him, yet he still has an abundance of quality and Ipswich need some inspiration from somewhere.
The 32-year-old has played under Paul Lambert before at both Villa and Stoke, therefore the Tractor Boys boss may have better luck in helping the player rediscover his form and it’s an inexpensive gamble to take.
Ireland scored two goals and grabbed six assists from 26 starts at Stoke, while averaging over 80% pass-accuracy rate (Whoscored) illustrating how the talent is certainly there.
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