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Fuller Flavour: From 15th spot to a play-off place - I can't decide how good we'll be this season!

Karl Fuller's excited to see how James Norwood fares at Ipswich Town - but he can't make up his mind about the season as a whole! Picture: Pagepix

Karl Fuller's excited to see how James Norwood fares at Ipswich Town - but he can't make up his mind about the season as a whole! Picture: Pagepix

Welcome to an eighth season of the Fuller Flavour, a season where hopefully the flavour will be far sweeter than the sour musings of the last couple of years!

Life in the third tier of the game for the first time in 62 years got off to the perfect start at Burton and in the predicament that we find ourselves right now, we could not have asked for anything better than that.

So how are you feeling about the nine months ahead? Optimistic? Pessimistic? Or just simply realistic?

I'll be honest, I wrote this column three or four times in my head over the past couple of weeks and I've still no idea how to feel about the journey ahead.

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I attended the recent AGM of the Clacton branch of Ipswich supporters and at the end of the evening, all members were asked for their predictions as to where we would finish.

I was about the fifth person to be asked and after the four ahead of me predicted anywhere between 1st and 7th, I piped up with 15th which saw a few gasps and stern looks offered in my direction.

That was the barometer of my fears set by my head, rather than the hope within my heart of hearts that we will finish in the play-offs at the very least.

Yep, I've covered all my bases and have gotten splinters for sitting on the proverbial fence, simply because I really do not know how this season will go.

However, I have entered the season full of optimism and excitement. Well, if you don't do it at the start, when can you?

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A year ago, I wrote of a journey on a straight road of hope as life began under Paul Hurst. I felt that was a refreshing change to a journey in a cul-de-sac of apathy under Mick McCarthy.

Look how well that journey ended. Now I feel like we're circling a roundabout not knowing how the exit we take will pan out for us.

Once the curtain came down on the 2018/19 season, it felt like a great relief and a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Ahead lay three months where no weekend could be ruined by an Ipswich defeat.

Without a World Cup or Euro Championship to get us through the summer, I really didn't mind a prolonged stay away from the game. I could not take any more hurt.

As a cricket fan, I looked forward to the World Cup and England's dramatic success was the perfect tonic to forget our relegation. But before the Ashes series could even reach the conclusion of its first test, it was back to football mode and a slight joy to see it back.

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Early pre-season was happy enough. The signing of James Norwood looks to be an exciting one and will be watched with great interest in the months to come, while the trip to Germany seemed like a nice change to what we've been accustomed to over the years.

That was until the injuries picked up by Teddy Bishop, Jack Lankester and Toto Nsiala put a dampener on things.

Since then, eyebrows have been raised and as ever, they're in the direction of our enigmatic owner Marcus Evans. I really do wonder why he owns the club and what his ultimate wish is?

Watching Paul Lambert's press conference on Friday was excruciating and hardly filled me with much optimism. We're short on a couple of signings at least and there did not sound like much hope of any backing for Lambert.

He sounded very much like a man in despair as if the agenda to which he took the role on has very much changed. Could he really walk as many suggest if things do not start well?

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First things first, we need to be rid of that losing mentality that goes together with relegation. Saturday's win was a good start but must be followed up with more by the end of August.

For now, I'll look forward to the atmosphere and excitement of the first-home game of the season against Sunderland. It will be lively!

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