•  From non-league to the brink of the Premier League, Jackson’s journey embodies Ipswich Town’s resurgence over the years.
  •  Despite challenges, Jackson’s selflessness and work ethic have been key to Town’s recent success in the Football League.
  •  Emotional after securing promotion, Jackson’s time with Ipswich may be coming to an end, but his impact will always be remembered.

When Kayden Jackson joined Ipswich Town six years ago, the thought of him departing Portman Road with the club ready to embark on a Premier League adventure would have seemed implausible.

The move to Suffolk coincided with some of the club’s worst times in recent history, as well as some of its finest, with one relegation and two promotions since making the swap from Accrington in 2018.

From Morecambe to Manchester United in the space of two years, it has been some journeys for the Tractor Boys of late, and Jackson has lived it all, through the good times and the bad.

With less than two months left on his current deal in East Anglia it looks as if he will be moving on to pastures new in the summer, but his place in Town’s history will always be remember, with his performances helping to spearhead their recent rise through the divisions.

Kayden Jackson epitomises Ipswich Town’s resurgence

Jackson is a player who has been there and seen it all throughout his time as a footballer; with spells in non-league at the start of his career preparing him for the trials and tribulations that a career in the game can bring.

Through spells at Tamworth and Wrexham, the striker finally found his feet in the EFL thanks to a move to Barnsley, before becoming a regular feature at Grimsby Town and Accrington Stanley

16 goals in 45 matches in the 17/18 season for Stanley was enough to turn the heads of the powers that be at Portman Road at the time, with the forward joining the club ready to embark on his first season in the second tier.

Despite plenty of enthusiasm and desire, Jackson’s first attempt at Championship football didn’t go to plan, with three league goals in a dismal season ending up in relegation to the third tier.

Club and player stuck together in the third tier, with the frontman turning himself into a player less relied on for goals, but rather as a player who brought others into the game, and provided a focal point for attacks.

cKenna came a turnaround in fortunes for both player and club though, with the Northern Irishman getting everyone singing off the same hymn sheet after his appointment just before Christmas that same year.

27 appearances from the substitutes’ bench in the Tractor Boys’ League One promotion campaign proved just how well thought of he was by McKenna, with his experience and nous in the final third helping his side claim valuable points, and cling on to victories when needed.

It was a similar story in the Championship for Jackson this time around, with just nine starts compared to his 20 introductions to games, but that isn’t to say that he didn’t have his say on Town’s promotion.

Finding the leveller in a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Sunderland in January helped Ipswich regather some form after a sticky festive period, with his clinical finish sparking the turnaround at Portman Road and getting them back on track to keep the dream alive.

Kayden Jackson

It would be no surprise to see a plethora of Championship clubs come in for the striker once his time in Suffolk comes to an end, with his footballing intelligence helping out his side time and time again over recent years.

Holding up play, bringing others into the equation and gaining priceless territory; Jackson does it all with such grace that any team with lofty aspirations in the second tier next season would see him as a real asset, just as Ipswich have done for more than half a decade.

Kayden Jackson’s emotional Ipswich Town tribute after achieving promotion

He may well be off in the summer, but Jackson is currently Ipswich’s longest serving player, so no one will understand what the fairytale rise through the Football League will mean as much as him.

After suffering the embarrassment of relegation and fighting back over the next five years to the place they find themselves in now, the striker was understandably emotional once Premier League football was secured earlier this month.

He said: “After everything we’ve been through the last five or six years, to be here, standing here today saying we’ve secured promotion to the Premier League is incredible.

“To have seen everything that went on, been a part of it and worked through it – I’m just thankful that I’m here now.

kayden jackson

“You never know what’s going to happen in football. There’s been a lot of change and a lot of struggle over the years, but to be here today makes it all worth it.

“I’ve been in and around good groups and successful groups, but no group as good as this and as together as this.”

If it is going to be farewell, it will certainly be a fond one from both parties over the summer, with Jackson’s career reinvigorated thanks to his Suffolk stint, while Town are in the best shape they have been all century.

He may not have the glitz and glamour of some of his teammates, but Jackson deserves his moment in the spotlight as much as anyone at Portman Road this year; he should always be remembered for his selflessness and desire throughout his time with Town, with his work rate second to none week in, week out.