There’s been a huge amount of discussion - and argument - about whether or not Kieffer Moore should have started the game at Preston.

For the record, I think he should have. Yes, I know he’d barely met his new team-mates, but in my view it was a rare Kieran McKenna mistake not to start the big striker, even if he’d played for only an hour.

But the Kieffer debate really misses the point. The reason we lost that game was down to another really poor, really slow start. We can’t keep leaving ourselves with mountains to climb.

Yes, I know we can blame the officials but there’s no denying we were well off the pace in the first 45 minutes. We simply left ourselves too much to do.

It’s the latest example of us conceding early goals. I have no idea why it keeps happening, but it’s a really damaging habit. We would have still conceded those calamitous goals with Kieffer Moore on the pitch.

East Anglian Daily Times: Omari Hutchinson reacts at full-timeOmari Hutchinson reacts at full-time (Image: Warren Page)
So, here we are, in the play-off places. Only one win in our last eight league games, starting with the Norwich match. It would be them, wouldn’t it? During that run we’ve scored only eight goals and picked up a miserable eight points.

Of course, it’s coincided with the really unfortunate, long-term injury suffered by George Hirst. His absence has meant we’ve lost the focal point of our attacks, and Conor Chaplin and Nathan Broadhead have been rendered much less effective.

Kieffer Moore’s arrival means we can return to playing in our preferred system. In his 45 minutes of action at Preston, the Welsh international produced exactly what we needed, using his power and physicality to make defenders’ lives a misery, and scoring twice into the bargain.

Our other new striker, Al Al-Hamadi, also produced a promising cameo from the bench. I think he could be a real asset.

All in all, we had a good January transfer window, with the arrival of the bag of tricks that is Jeremy Sarmiento and defensive midfielder Lewis Travis plus, in the last few days, the two strikers. A good window when it seemed there wasn’t much business done generally.

East Anglian Daily Times: Terry was impressed with new striker Ali Al-Hamadi as well as MooreTerry was impressed with new striker Ali Al-Hamadi as well as Moore (Image: Ross Halls)
Will it be enough to reignite a season which has lost momentum. Can our January arrivals have the same electrifying effect as the four signings we made halfway through last season?

Time will tell, but I really do think the performances of our two new front men at Preston was very exciting, and provides great hope for the rest of the campaign.

As I mentioned, we now find ourselves outside the top two for the first time in months. We find ourselves in a battle with the three relegated sides, with all their Premier League experience and parachute money. It looks like an uneven battle, but wouldn’t it be great to upset the odds?

The psychology around this is interesting. Before this season kicked off, I suspect every Ipswich supporter would have been delighted with a play-off place in our first season back in the Championship.

I know I would have. I was telling anyone who asked that I would be happy with a mid-table finish, with perhaps a little flirtation with the top six. That would have represented solid progress.

East Anglian Daily Times: Vaclav Hladky and the Blues have slipped down to fourth Vaclav Hladky and the Blues have slipped down to fourth (Image: Warren Page)
But now, the picture has changed. Expectations have risen. We’ve been in the top two for months. How would we feel about “only” making the play-offs now?

Inevitably, there would be a sense of anti-climax and a loss of momentum, which usually proves to be disastrous when it comes to those big, oh-so-tense end of season matches.

There is another factor. The success we’ve seen under Kieran McKenna has attracted a new generation of young fans. From crowds of 14,000 during the thoroughly depressing Marcus Evans era, we are now seeing Portman Road packed for every home game.

Those new supporters who have joined the Blue and White Army in the last couple of years have known pretty much non-stop success which has been wonderful but, sadly, isn’t guaranteed.

I just hope they are prepared for the inevitable peaks and troughs, and the rollercoaster ride of being a football fan. They will need to show some patience if (when?) the team goes through some dodgy spells - which at some point, they will.

That means backing the team through thick and thin, which isn’t always easy, as those of us with more miles on the clock know all too well. I hope they pass the test.

Next up are West Brom, which suddenly is fourth against fifth. Not easy. Let’s hope we can get this season back on track.