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Monday verdict: Different season, same mistakes – Ipswich Town’s promotion hopes are fading fast

PUBLISHED: 06:00 15 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:54 15 February 2016

Mick McCarthy, Manager of Ipswich Town looks dejected after losing  
Bristol City v Ipswich Town

Mick McCarthy, Manager of Ipswich Town looks dejected after losing Bristol City v Ipswich Town

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There is a growing feeling that Ipswich Town’s season is slipping away.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-battling Bristol City was a fourth loss in five games across all competitions. There has been just two wins in 2016.

Just like last season, Mick McCarthy’s physically demanding style of play seems to be taking its toll on the squad at a vital moment. And once again no cavalry was called for in January.

The two carbon copy headed goal from Aden Flint at Ashton Gate were fitting really. Town, it seems, do not learn from their past mistakes – on or off the pitch.

The gap to the play-off places may be only three points but right now that seems like a chasm as the final straight fast approaches.

A crippling injury-list has robbed Mick McCarthy of the services of his three chief entertainers. Who knows where the Blues would be had the talented trio of Ryan Fraser, Teddy Bishop and David McGoldrick been fit and firing all season?

They haven’t though and a squad which had been hailed as having the most strength in depth for years is beginning to look short of the required quality for a sustained promotion push.

Town never roll over and get their tummies tickled. They never look like they are going to hand out a thrashing either. At Ashton Gate they were far from gutless. Confused and clueless were apt adjectives though. It was all a bit too predictable.

Back last August it seemed as though the Blues’ style of play was evolving. A bit of style was being added to the steel, some guile supplementing the grit. The only way seemed up following the club’s first top-six finish in a decade. Then came that 5-1 loss at Reading and McCarthy slammed the breaks on.

The major weaknesses – nowhere near enough goals or invention from midfield and too many predictable long balls – are beginning to far outweigh the undoubted qualities of team spirit and work ethic. Poor aesthetics makes for less latitude when it comes to criticism.

If things don’t improve quickly then two big questions will arise – who is to blame for not building on the momentum that was gathering and where does the club go from here?

Are McCarthy’s hands tied by owner Marcus Evans when it comes to the transfer market and he’s simply keeping his frustrations well-hidden? Or is Town’s pragmatic boss genuinely happy to stick to his tried and trusted budget buys? It may well be a bit of both. If it stay this way though then it’s hard to see the Blues joining the Premier League elite any time soon.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hailed his team’s ‘terrific’ display in this afternoon’s 3-2 defeat at Leeds United, claiming the Championship table-toppers ‘dodged a bullet’.

An own goal from keeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s ultimately proved costly for Ipswich Town in an entertaining 3-2 defeat at Championship table-toppers Leeds United this afternoon.

In this week’s nostalgia, we take a look at when Ipswich beat Leeds United 4-2 at Portman Road in the first Premier League fixture between the two sides back on October 3, 1992.

Just one in five punters think Ipswich Town will beat league leaders Leeds United at Elland Road toady.

High-flying Ipswich Town take on Championship table-toppers Leeds United at Elland Road today. STUART WATSON brings you quotes, team news, prediction and more.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes Blues skipper Luke Chambers is management material and has joked he might end up being the defender’s assistant one day.

Ipswich Town striker David McGoldrick feels he’s back ‘on song’ and is targeting his best ever goals haul this season.

Ipswich Town supporter Mike Dove has written an open letter to fellow Blues fans on Twitter after last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Bolton was played in front of the lowest league crowd at Portman Road in 19 years. Here it is, plus some reaction.

Ipswich Town take on Leeds United, at Elland Road, in a top-six Championship match tomorrow afternoon (3pm). STUART WATSON previews the match.

David McGoldrick believes Ipswich Town have what it takes to stay in the Championship top six spots.

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