Sheffield Wednesday must not get left behind as promotion rivals promise aggressive January transfer window

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It’s looking increasingly likely that whoever finishes third in the League One table this season will do so with a near-record points total.

Some 25 matches into the campaign, Ipswich Town have tumbled into third place behind Sheffield Wednesday, who are back in the automatic promotion places for the first time since August off the back of a 13-game unbeaten run.

Together with table-topping Plymouth Argyle, the three teams have set the third tier pace this season and boast a nine-point gap on the chasing pack, though the likes of Derby County, Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley are waiting in the wings in steady form themselves.

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Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore.Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore.

Ipswich are operating at a rate of two-points-per-game, a figure that would break Sheffield United’s unwanted 90-point League One record for most points to finish in third place – ironically picked up in the 2011/12 season that last saw Wednesday promoted to the Championship.

Given the hugely competitive nature of the promotion race so far, some attention now turns to the transfer window and how the runners and riders will shape up.

Darren Moore has been publicly noncommittal when discussing how the Owls will go about their January business, though The Star understands the club have explored options in a handful of different positions, not least in defence.

It’ll be a case of tweaks to the squad rather than anything major, with an added focus placed on retaining the likes of Mark McGuinness from the possibility of a loan recall.

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Plymouth Argyle

Top dogs Plymouth have entered the new year having shaken off a minor December wobble with four wins on the spin.

The club were dealt a monumental blow by Swansea City’s recall of star man Morgan Whittaker but are expected to respond by bringing in a replacement.

They’ve acted fast to bring in New Zealand striker Ben Waine across from the A-League and defender Saxon Earley from Norwich and may well look to the loan market for further reinforcements.

“As always we have to work to our budget here,” said Pilgrims boss Steven Schumacher recently. “And the budget is what it is. It’s pretty much spent.

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“There is a little tiny bit left from what we got given in the summer for an emergency, which we always like to do. For us to improve the squad is probably going to take further investment now.”

Ipswich Town

Ipswich have won just one of their last four matches and bring financial clout to the transfer window.

CEO Mark Ashton made assurances to supporters that Kieran McKenna ‘will be backed’ in January and that it would be ‘active in the window.’ They’re expected to get busy.

Whittaker – having just left Plymouth – is said to be high on their radar, as is Peterborough midfielder Jack Taylor. The addition of a new striker looks likely and the Tractor Boys are looking to move fast.

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Speaking after his side fell out of the top two, McKenna said: “For sure, we’re going to look to add to the squad and improve the squad in the second half of the season. But, of course, the other teams will as well.

“We’ll hopefully get some new players in the door, which will give us a boost and give ourselves the best chance of a good second half of the season.”

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