Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town endured an underwhelming Championship season last time out, and will be hoping for better when the new campaign gets underway in a few months’ time.
The Tractor Boys finished sixth in 2015 and then seventh in 2016 to demonstrate that they were a side to keep an eye on in the promotion picture, yet last term was anything but, as McCarthy’s men could only muster a 16th place finish.
They concluded the campaign with just 55 points from their 46 Championship games, their lowest total in the second tier since 2006, and much work well be needed over the summer if former Wolves and Sunderland chief McCarthy is to guide them nearer to the upper echelons of the division.
And that is why they should seriously consider a move for Ryan Tunnicliffe this summer, who is set to be released by fellow Championship outfit Fulham at the end of the month, and of course played for the Tractor Boys back in 2013.
The 24-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Wigan Athletic, appearing nine times for the Latics and netting once in their 1-1 draw with Leeds on the final day of the campaign, although he was unable to help them stay in the second tier.
Nonetheless, after earning vast amounts of experience in the Championship, as well as learning his trade at Manchester United back in the day, Tunnicliffe may be an ideal signing to freshen up McCarthy’s Ipswich team.
Tunnicliffe has played 142 times in the Championship during his career, with spells at Peterborough, Barnsley, Ipswich, Blackburn, Fulham, and Wigan demonstrating that he is a highly-rated player at this level, and one who can do a job in the midfield.
Although his stats aren’t anything to write home about, netting just four goals and laying on nine assists in his Championship career, the 24-year-old may well be in need of a fresh start somewhere to help resurrect his career, and McCarthy could give him that.
The Ipswich boss regularly played Tunnicliffe during his short spell at Portman Road in 2013 to demonstrate how highly he rates the midfielder, and even wanted to get a permanent deal done with United in January 2014, but no move materialised.
The versatile midfielder has been attracting interest from several sides given that his contract is up this month, and Ipswich are just one of a handful of Championship clubs who have reportedly been keeping an eye on Tunnicliffe’s situation in recent months.
And given that Ipswich laboured to 16th last season, in which they scored a lowly 48 goals, they may need something different in the midfield department.
And given the well-documented shoe-string budget that McCarthy has to work off at Portman Road, he has little to lose in snapping up a free agent like Tunnicliffe, but potentially everything to gain should he offer him a contract this summer.