Meet the opposition | Ipswich Town
As Swansea City prepare to head to Portman Road this weekend, we take a closer look at the Tractor Boys.
WHAT’S THEIR STORY?
Ipswich are back in the second tier after sealing automatic promotion from League One last term.
That brought an end to a four-year stint in the third tier, which had marked their first period outside the top two divisions of English football since 1957.
Ipswich played in the inaugural season of the Premier League in 1992-93 and have had four further campaigns at the highest level since then. They were most recently in the top-flight in 2002.
Uefa Cup winners in 1981, the Tractor Boys also have an FA Cup and a league championship trophy in their cabinet.
HOW’S THEIR FORM?
Superb. Ipswich have built on the momentum of promotion by making an excellent start to life back in the second tier.
Only runaway leaders Leicester have enjoyed a better start to the campaign, with Kieran McKenna's team losing just one of their first 14 league games.
That sole defeat came on home soil against Leeds, while they have 11 wins to their name.
WHO'S THE GAFFER?
Kieran McKenna. The 37-year-old Northern Irishman is in his second full season at the helm at Portman Road, having taken the reins in December 2021 following the departure of Paul Cook.
He made an instant impact and, although their form was not enough to sneak into the play-offs at the end of that season, they carried the momentum into the 2022-23 season and finished second to Plymouth to secure promotion before starting the new campaign in sensational form.
McKenna was a bright, young midfielder during his playing days and was on the books at Tottenham before injury cruelly curtailed his career.
The Northern Ireland youth international enrolled on a sports science course at Loughborough University, and held roles with the Tottenham, Leicester and Nottingham Forest academies during his studies.
He went on to head up performance analysis and the under-18s' team in the Spurs academy before making the move to Manchester United.
McKenna was promoted to the first-team coaching staff under Jose Mourinho in 2018, and remained there for over three years before opting to strike out on his own with Ipswich.
WHO'S THE CAPTAIN?
Sam Morsy. The 32-year-old Egypt international is vastly experienced, with over 450 EFL appearances under his belt.
Born in Wolverhampton, the midfielder came through the academy ranks with Wolves before moving to Port Vale, where he made his senior breakthrough.
He helped Vale to promotion from League Two in 2013, before joining Chesterfield the following season and being part of the squad that won the League Two title.
Three years with the Spireites came to an end with a move to Wigan in 2016 where he would be part of two League One-winning seasons, and experience the financial difficulties the Latics went through following the second of those promotions.
A season at Middlesbrough followed before he joined Ipswich in the summer of 2021. Morsy struck up a positive relationship with McKenna following the head coach's appointment later that year and has been a key figure with his ability to marshal the midfield and break up play.
He scored with a stunning strike in Ipswich's midweek draw at Rotherham.
WHO ARE THE KEY MEN?
Wales striker Nathan Broadhead leads the way for Ipswich in terms of goalscoring with six to his name already this term, plus one assist.
The 25-year-old forward came through the ranks with Everton, having been on the books at Bangor City and Wrexham.
He had loan spells with Burton Albion, Sunderland and Wigan before joining Ipswich in January of this year.
He helped fire the Tractor Boys to promotion and has picked up where he left off this term.
Broadhead has seven Wales caps to his name, scoring two goals, including a late equaliser in a Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia.
Conor Chaplin has been another attacking player to start the season in strong firm, with the Portsmouth product having five goals and two assists under his belt.
The 26-year-old made over 100 league appearances for Pompey and helped them secure the League Two title on the final day of the 2016-17 campaign.
Chaplin had a season with Coventry before joining Barnsley in 2019. He was part of the Tykes squad that got to the Championship play-offs in 2021, where they lost to the Swans.
He joined Ipswich that summer, and has been a key figure since. They missed out on the play-offs at the end of his first season at Portman Road, but were promoted automatically last term before returning to Championship level, where his trickery and guile have made him a handful for defences.
Leeds academy product Leif Davis, came through at Wallsend Boys Club and Morecambe before joining the Elland Road club under Marcelo Bielsa.
Davis made 11 first-team appearance for the Yorkshire outfit but was not able to nail down a regular first-team position.
He made a dozen league appearances on loan for Bournemouth on their way to promotion during the 2021-22 season, before making a permanent switch to Ipswich in the summer of 2022.
The energetic full-back was an important part of their promotion-winning campaign last term, and has been a number of players to stand-out in their impressive start to the campaign.