Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon is optimistic of a play-off finish

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SEVEN players in and a massive 14 shown out of the door at Portman Road - it has certainly been a hectic summer.

It was a dream start in the league at Bristol City on Saturday - with Michael Chopra bagging two on his debut - before a humiliating exit at the hands of League Two Northampton Town in the Carling Cup, albeit with nine changes, on Tuesday.

But with the owner hungry to take his investment back into the Premier League at the fifth time of asking, I wonder just how much rides on this season.

The word from the manager is there is no pressure from Marcus Evans in his first full campaign, but even a rich man has his limit, with our benefactor having seen his millions disappear for no return year after year and it’s Evans I’m more worried about leaving.

Jewell has moved very shrewdly in the transfer market, only paying out on Michael Chopra (around initial £1.5m) and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (around initial £1.1m), while the street fighters Roy Keane couldn’t find have arrived in Ivar Ingimarsson and Lee Bowyer, both on free transfers, with Neil Andrews set to follow ahead of the home game with Hull City Saturday.

Having watched Chopra week-in-week-out during his first spell at Cardiff City, while working for the club, he could be the difference between another season in mid-table and one ending at Wembley in the play-offs.

Add in the first England international keeper at Portman Road since Richard Wright, in up-and-coming David Stockdale, the mettle and guile of Bowyer. silky skills and powerful running of Emmanuel-Thomas, raiding runs and whipped crosses from young full-back Aaron Cresswell and strength of Ingimarsson (if fit) and there is the basis of an exciting team.

While there are a few missing pieces of the jigsaw still - a right-back and more central defensive cover head the list- I think we have a great shout of pushing for the play-offs in what is an extremely difficult league this season.

The decision to sell Connor Wickham to Sunderland for an initial £8.1 million, rising to a potential £12million, was the right one - the money for an unproven Premiership player was too good to turn down. And in Emmanuel-Thomas we have another very exciting youngster with plenty of cash left to play with in the transfer market.

While I expect big-spending Leicester City and West Ham United to be the top two, re-invest some of that money wisely and our 10-year exile in the second tier could be coming to an end...

*Follow @russclaydon on twitter for #itfc news and views