The Insider: Portsmouth target Ellis Harrison has attributes to play in Championship – but Ipswich boss Paul Lambert may want his own players

Stuart Watson, from the East Anglian Daily Times, gives us the lowdown on Pompey target Ellison Harrison...

Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 3:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 3:29 pm

Ellis Harrison had a frustrating season – the table speaks for itself in what sort of campaign Ipswich had.

Harrison was one of a number of signings made from the lower divisions by Paul Hurst, who’d stepped up to the Championship himself from Shrewsbury.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing. At the time, Ipswich fans wanted to see the club go down a different route in terms of the manager and the type of signings.

There was a sense the club was treading water by getting in Mick McCarthy’s tried-and-tested players and it wasn’t really leading anywhere.

It was a gamble and a big ask for all the players to step up at the same time.

There were signs some of those players were starting to find their feet – Jon Nolan and Aristote Nsiala, in particular.

Ipswich striker Ellis Harrison. Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

But we never got the chance to see whether Harrison would have done that because of injuries.

He missed a fair chunk of the first half of the season with ankle ligament damage then he had a back problem towards the end of the campaign, when Ipswich were really short of strikers.

Harrison did show glimpses of what he’s all about during the times he was on the pitch, scoring a really good goal against Sheffield United when he curled a shot in from the edge of the box.

In terms of the type of player Harrison is, he’s got all-around attributes.

He’s a bit of a jack of all trades. He’s strong, decent in the air for his height and can hold the ball up.

He’s not the quickest but not slow either. He’s got a bit of everything.

Looking at the reaction on Twitter and some of the polls we have done, I think Ipswich fans would like to see Harrison stay and see if he can kick on in a division he knows well.

The flip side is knowing whether boss Paul Lambert rates him.

Harrison has been injured and the best time for him last season was either side of Christmas.

He scored against Sheffield United, played really well against Millwall on New Year’s Day and then Lambert went out and signed two strikers in January in Will Keane and Collin Quaner.

Does that suggest Lambert wants to get his own men in? Quite possibly.

They look like they’re in a good position to sign James Norwood, who’s scored a lot of goals for Tranmere.

It could be a scenario where Ipswich can get much of the money they spent on Harrison and reinvest it.

Whenever you sign a striker, the first thing fans look at is their goal record.

Harrison’s not been a prolific player and that’s probably the main question mark against him.

I remember speaking to Marcus Stewart, who was on the coaching staff at Bristol Rovers, and he was saying Harrison is a big, bubbly, infectious character.

Although he wasn’t regarded as a 20-goal striker, his hold-up play and work rate is worth its weight in gold – those are the noises made when he signed for Ipswich.

I do think Harrison had the attributes to play in the Championship but it was a big ask for all of the new players to do it at the same time.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Harrison couldn’t because he had injuries and it was tough for him to show it in a team collectively trying to find their feet in the Championship.

I’d like to see more of him and would fear he’d do quite well elsewhere – but would understand if Lambert needs to sell in order to buy.

Pompey and Ipswich are both going to be up there at the top of the table by what the bookies are saying.

That carries a big risk if you’re letting a striker go to a promotion rival.