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The integral cog in Ipswich Town’s hunt for promotion back to the Championship – opinion

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After what was quite simply a dismal campaign last season, culminating in their relegation from the Championship, Ipswich Town have gone about picking up the pieces and are looking to start again. 

With manager Paul Lambert bringing in a host of new signings to supplement his existing squad, there was a newfound optimism around the Portman Road faithful.

Smart additions such as Will Keane on a free transfer,  exciting young Tottenham Hotspur winger Anthony Georgiou and Everton full back Luke Garbutt have also both arrived on loan, adding both youth and Football League experience to a squad with an average age of just 25.2.

However, the incoming which got tongues wagging at not only Portman Road but also much of the Football League’s 72 clubs was the Tractor Boys’ capture of Tranmere Rovers’ goal scoring sensation, James Norwood on a free transfer.

Norwood is arguably one of the best natural born finishers within England’s third division, with his goalscoring feats at former club Tranmere attracting the front man many admirers.

His form at his old club after all was nothing short of brilliant, during their promotion season from League Two, Norwood netted 32 goals in 53 games across all competitions, averaging a goal every 140 minutes per league game.

Norwood provides yet another example of a player who has cut his teeth at non-league level before making the step up to the Football League later on in his career, with the 28 year-old front man having started his career at his local club Eastbourne Town, for which he scored 10 goals in 18 games.

Norwood was then given something of a false dawn as he snapped up by then League One side Exeter City, after a successful trial period with the club, for whom he only appeared in four games for before being shipped out on loan to Sutton United, Forest Green Rovers and another of his local clubs Eastbourne Borough.

Following his periods out on loan in the non-league system,  Norwood was released by Exeter City, leading to him signing for one of his former loan sides, Forest Green Rovers, for whom he enjoyed the first prolific spell of his career, in which he scored 48 goals in 161 league appearances, averaging around a goal every two games.

It was just a day after Forest Green’s Conference play-off final defeat in 2015 that Norwood confirmed he would be leaving for pastures new upon the expiration of his contract. Norwood subsequently signed for Tranmere and the rest as they say is history!

Prior to the beginning of the new season, I tipped Norwood to become League One’s leading scorer, and so far my prediction seems to be coming to fruition with the 5 foot 9 inch striker having found the net an impressive four times in Town’s opening five league games, including an impressive thumping header against Wimbledon.

Alongside fellow frontman Kayden Jackson, Ipswich possess one of the best strike partnerships in the league and I for one will not be surprised if they secure automatic promotion at a canter this season.

ScoopDragon Football News Network