'The boss is one of the best around' - Morsy

Kieran McKenna celebrates promotion
Kieran McKenna joined Ipswich from Manchester United in 2021 [PA Media]

Promotion to the Premier League would not have happened without manager Kieran McKenna, according to Ipswich captain Sam Morsy.

McKenna took charge when the club were mid-table in League One and has steered them to the top flight with back-to-back promotions.

It has been achieved despite continuing to rely on many of the players he inherited when he replaced Paul Cook at Portman Road in December 2021.

"Undeniably, without him we wouldn't have got promoted (this season), no doubt about that," Morsy told BBC Radio Suffolk

"Early doors, I thought we'd have a chance, we had players playing really well and we’ve got one of the best managers around, full stop. When you’ve got that and you work really hard every day you have a chance – and we’ve kept going."

It has been a hallmark of McKenna's time in charge that he has improved players at all stages in their careers - from those like Morsy, aged 32, who have been 'around the block' to others new to Championship football.

"When you’re in this environment, you haven’t got a choice other than to improve because if you don’t, you’re probably not going to stick around for that long. The challenge never stops," the Egypt international added.

"To go back to back is incredible really. To have them (the fans) supporting a Premier League club again is what makes all the hard work and the sacrifice worth it."

'Time to show everyone what I can do' - Davis

Wing-back Leif Davis has been one of those to make a leap forward this season

He moved to Suffolk from the Leeds in the summer of 2022 and his 18 assists - the highest total in the Championship - helped ensure his former club had to settle for a place in the play-offs.

"I had to make the change in my career, I couldn't just sit there on the bench all the time. When I met the gaffer here, it was a no-brainer," Davis said.

The 24-year-old believes promotion was achieved despite it being one "the best Championships" for some years because of the size of some of the clubs involved.

And he is eager to sample the top flight again, having had a "little taste" during his time at Elland Road.

Davis added: "We're just going to give it everything again. We're not going to shy away.

"It’s time to show everyone in the world what I can do. I want to get the best out of myself, play against the best players in the world and test myself."

It will, however, the first time in the top flight for winger Wes Burns, who scored the first goal in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield which sealed promotion.

He spent much of his career in the lower half of the English Football League but has contributed 26 goals in 114 league appearances for the Tractor Boys.

"It’s been a long 23-year journey. I started on it when I was six years old and it’s all I’ve wanted to do. The goal is to play in the Premier League," Burns said.

"A few years ago at Fleetwood, I’d maybe have said that dream is never going to come true but, now, to take that step in my game and be a part of something so amazing, my dream has come true.

"Last year it was on us to get promoted because that’s what we set out to achieve. This year it’s been a nice surprise, we said we’d give 100% and see where it takes us and it’s beyond anyone’s wildest imagination that we’d be here saying we’re Premier League players."

He added: "I knew we were a very good group and had got the best manager. I knew we’d do well – did I think we’d get promoted back to back, probably not?"