In light of Wes Burns’ injury, FLW explores three potential replacements that Kieran McKenna could consider. Since joining Portman Road in the summer of 2021, Wes Burns, the Ipswich Town winger, has been a standout performer for the club. As of now, Burns has accumulated 100 appearances for the Tractor Boys, scoring 23 goals and providing 24 assists during this period. These impressive statistics underscore Burns’ significant contribution to the team’s success under manager Kieran McKenna. For instance, in the previous season, Burns played a pivotal role in Ipswich’s automatic promotion to the Championship, notching up eight goals and an astonishing 14 assists from the right flank.
In the current Championship season, Burns has been a consistent presence in all league matches, despite registering only one goal and assist. Nevertheless, his contribution has played a part in Ipswich’s strong position, currently ranking 2nd in the league.
Unfortunately, the team and Burns have received unfortunate news. During the international break, Burns, who made his Wales debut in 2022, suffered an injury while playing against Gibraltar, forcing him to exit the field after just 15 minutes. The Welsh FA confirmed his return to Ipswich Town for further evaluation. The extent of his shoulder injury remains undisclosed, but there is a possibility that Burns may face an extended period on the sidelines.
In such a situation, Kieran McKenna, the manager, will need to find a suitable replacement for Burns in the starting lineup. Here, we consider three potential options:
1. Marcus Harness: One clear candidate to step into Burns’ position in the starting lineup is
likely to be Marcus Harness. While the 27-year-old has primarily appeared as a substitute in nine Championship matches this season, he has not yet played as a right-winger. Nevertheless, throughout his career, Harness has often featured on the right flank, although this has not been the case at Portman Road.
2. Omari Hutchinson: If Kieran McKenna opts not to field Marcus Harness, another potential
solution is Omari Hutchinson. Hutchinson typically plays in a central role but has demonstrated versatility this season by occasionally occupying both left and right wing positions. This suggests he could effectively perform on the right if required.
3. Sone Aluko: If none of the aforementioned options align with McKenna’s preferences, Ipswich
still has Sone Aluko on their roster. Although it would be unexpected for him to suddenly secure a spot in the starting lineup, the 34-year-old possesses valuable experience at this level. Aluko has only featured in cup competitions so far this season, making it more likely that he would be on the bench in response to Burns’ injury news, while remaining an additional option if McKenna deems it necessary.