Ipswich promise revamped sport science team will rival Premier League best

O'Neill started his Ipswich career as a sport scientist

O'Neill started his Ipswich career as a sport scientist

IPSWICH TOWN have put Academy Manager Lee O’Neill in charge of sport science at the club, saying the department will be “on a par in terms of quality man for man" with the best Premier League clubs.

Former Shrewsbury manager Paul Hurst took charge of Town at the end of last month, heralding the dawn of what owner Marcus Evans promises will be a more "modern and innovative" culture at the club.

O'Neill started off in Ipswich's sport science department before moving over to the Academy. His focus will now switch back, although it is unclear how that will affect his Academy job. No-one from Ipswich was available to talk to TGG about it at the end of last week.

O'Neill will soon be joined by a new first-team sport scientist and fitness coach, the club said.

Owner Marcus Evans: “Sports science is becoming an increasingly important area of the weaponry at clubs and we are making great strides forward in this area and that will continue.

“Lee O’Neill will head up this department and will be supported by a soon to be appointed first-team sports scientist and fitness coach, ensuring we transfer best practice in fitness and medical across all squads with a goal to significantly increase availability for minutes on the pitch for all players.”

O’Neill added: “We will be monitoring players closely through training and games using GPS techniques. We will also be in a position to step up our observation of players’ well-being, looking for signs of fatigue, nutritional needs, making sure their sleep patterns are right.

“It’s about leaving no stone unturned though and giving him every tool possible. The manager might think ‘he didn’t look quite right today’ and then come to us to see if there is a change in the usual patterns of data.

“Football is developing and becoming more scientific, but it shouldn’t take over. Ultimately coaching must lead things. We are just trying to give them the best chance to make informed decisions.

“Injuries are part of football, it’s a contact sport, and they will always happen, but we can put things in place, hopefully, that will help prevent some of the avoidable ones in the future.

“And we’ve been working closely with Suffolk University for the last five years, developing a really good relationship with Dr Gavin Devereux who is a leader in sports science.

“What that’s enabled us to do is be at the forefront of research – both academically and applied work – and to be able to access some advanced technology including things like bio-chemistry. We will be doing saliva, hormone and cortisol tests.”

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