Part of my chat to Michael focused on three relative recent recruits, Hakeeb Adelakun, Ted Bishop and Lasse Sorensen.
All three happened relatively quickly and bulked up the Imps squad somewhat, raising expectations a little. It’s no secret that I was impressed with the capture of Adelakun, a player I feel could thrive in the right circumstances, and the boss certainly shared that enthusiasm.
“I was absolutely delighted that we got Hakeeb in,” enthused the boss. “Don’t get me wrong, we worked hard on that one, but I think he’s a Championship player, if I’m honest. That’s how we sold it to him; we want to play in the Championship too. If it isn’t with us, then hopefully it’ll be someone else, and we’ll benefit because we’ll get a bit of cash back in the kitty.”
Adelakun has had two loan spells recently, at Rotherham, where he struggled for game time, and Hull, where he returned three goals in 14 matches. Hull played a similar style to us, which was part of the reason the winger put pen to paper.
“I think he likes our style. I know he went on loan to Hull last year and enjoyed it there. I think in his previous loan, he had a decent spell, but the style of football was a lot different at Rotherham. He got missed out a lot and isolated a lot. There was an expectancy on him to not just to beat someone one against one, but he had two against him, and he had to beat those and get the ball into the box. We have a different approach, and we showed him that, what we’d expect, and I think he bought into it.”
The is a word of caution though, given the lateness of his arrival, we may not see him playing two games in a week at first.
“I’m delighted we got him, he’s going to be a big addition to the squad. For a couple of months, you might only see him Saturday to Saturday as we look after him, but he’s a great player.”
Moving on to Lasse Sorensen, a transfer that caught mot people out, Michael believes he can be utilised anywhere.
“Lasse can play anywhere. He’s got that Danish mentality; he’s a fighter, he’ll scrap and fight for anything. He’s one of those guys that if you ask him to do something, he’ll do it. He’s got quality too; he can deal with the ball, he’s got soft feet he can pass and just runs all day. His running power is incredible.”
Hopefully, we won’t have to see him at left centre back! Another new recruit, Ted Bishop (Teddy or Ted? Maybe he can settle it soon), has been spoken of very highly by those at Ipswich Town. He’s one that could thrive if kept fit, and Michael doesn’t just put him in the Championship quality, but right at the top of that division.
“How Teddy Bishop is not playing, week in week out, at the top end of the Championship, I’ll never know. It will happen. As long as we can keep him fit, he’s got unbelievable ability. He’s as quick with the ball as if is without the ball.”
There’s an obvious comparison here, and whilst it would be unfair to label him ‘the new Jorge Grant’, fans will look and see similarities. The loss of Grant, a major figure for us last season, is one reason many feel we might not be top six, but Michael thinks there’s a chance Teddy could fill the role.
“We lost a player like Jorge Grant, who had such an influence on the pitch, and off the pitch, and I think Teddy is capable of taking that mantle and taking it beyond. I really do. He’s got so much ability, it’s scary.”
I’m not one to label a player ‘the new xxx’, Teddy Bishop will be Teddy Bishop, with his own skills and attributes, but there’s certainly a feeling he could be a significant player for us. He must be kept fit, that’s been his issue at Ipswich, but along with Lasse and Hakeeb, he forms a trio of versatile players I expect to be first-team regulars for the next 46 league matches.