Dave Gooderham: The questions that we need answering after a bleak week for the Blues
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
I can understand the sentiment, I really can. It goes something like this: “If you had said we would be second after 13 games and with a game in hand to go top, I would have taken that”, writes Dave Gooderham.
It is definitely a fair argument. Ipswich Town entered unchartered, third-tier, territory following one of their worst seasons of all time and having forgotten how to score goals, keep clean sheets and therefore, ultimately, win games. That quickly and thankfully changed within the first few games of this season.
But we are now facing our first big blip of an impressive start to the season. We all knew it was going to happen, but it doesn't make it any better for the doubters, the pessimists, the realists and every other category of Ipswich Town fan.
For the last few weeks, these 700 words or so have been something of a groundhog column. Ipswich don't quite fire on all cylinders but do enough to win, largely because of a piece of skill, some stalwart defending or the paucity of opposition. Well, it will certainly read differently this week.
Losing at Accrington was a difficult one to stomach, in terms of their league position, our performance and yet another horror show in front of the live cameras.
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Thankfully, my very kind sports editor gave me an extra day to assemble my thoughts - which could now include the midweek home game against Rotherham.
The match against the Millers was a big test. We were always going to lose a game, possibly against a side we should beat. But it was about how we would respond.
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Beat Rotherham, maintain top spot, and Accrington could largely be forgotten about. Unfortunately, a different script was written as Ipswich were once again inept in suffering a consecutive 2-0 loss.
Most can accept losing, but the manner of both defeats is a bit more worrying. Outmuscled at the back, impotent upfront and very little happening in between or on either side. Player-for-player, this has been a very poor few days.
Of course, manager Paul Lambert is right to preach patience. Dips and bumps were always going to happen. But there was such a meek midweek response, it is only fair that questions are starting to be asked.
Is Lambert's tinkerman role really suiting Ipswich? Should we be deciding on one formation and sticking with it? How can we get back to being hard to beat, in the first instance? And, how good actually are Ipswich Town in League 1?
I ask the latter, as we have seen the best and worst in the first 13 games. But I also think these questions are fair because we have consistently said that Ipswich have not hit top gear.
That's fine, ish, when they are winning games, lots of them. But when the defeats start to stack up, you start to wonder why Ipswich haven't shown their full potential and what can be done to achieve this.
This isn't some negative reaction after the panic button has been pressed. There have been concerns from day one about not killing teams off or only truly turning up for half a game.
My biggest concern is not just about formation, but actually personnel. We have some players who should be lapping up League One football but whose season has stuttered, at best.
James Norwood, as our main goal-getter, will always be highlighted when things are good or bad. We must hope that he is now getting over his troublesome groin injury and can show the kind of form that made him Lambert's top target many months to go.
There are others. For instance, Gwion Edwards and Emyr Huws, for different reasons, should almost be the first names on the team sheet, but only when fitness and form - and probably the formation - is right.
Then there is Alan Judge, an enigma this season when he should be tearing it up. Find the right place and the right system and Judge should be the best player in League One. Right now, Ipswich could do with having that after losing their place at the top to free-scoring Peterborough.
Next up is Southend United, fresh from a 7-1 mauling. Of course, flippant fans are suggesting they know what will happen next and it is bleak. I don't care about that. I'm more worried about the new manager bounce with Sol Campbell and one Hermann Hreidarsson in the home dugout. It is now time for a real response from Ipswich Town.