Fuller Flavour: Why I actually feel sorry for Lambert, plus two players who’ve earned more chances
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:27 09 November 2020
In his Ipswich Town column this week, Karl Fuller laments the Blues’ early exit from the FA Cup, shares his sympathy for Paul Lambert and names a couple of players who he thinks should feature more going forward...
I don’t think that I can recall any week in my 42 years as an Ipswich fan like the one we’ve just experienced, so far as big errors made by match officials is concerned.
Sure, we’ve had some antagonising moments in isolation, but to have five big decisions go against us in five days across two games is barely believable. We’ve all seen them by now, they were all wrong in my opinion and they have all proved potentially costly both in terms of league points – well, at least one – and perhaps much needed revenue that progression in the FA Cup would have brought.
You will not hear me say it too often but I’m actually feeling sorry for Paul Lambert at the moment. As each game throws up more controversy, he has to face the cameras to give his thoughts. What more can be said without getting himself into trouble?
He is in a privileged position where he can talk to Mike Jones, the national group director of the Professional Game Match Officials, who in turn apparently agrees that the decisions going against us are wrong and yet nothing can be done about it.
I don’t know how he remains as calm as he appears to be honest.
As a fan, I just want to see some consistency in decision making. Sadly, they’re consistently going against us at the moment.
Error-strewn match officials aside, we’ve proved again that we are still not good enough to beat the top sides. Following defeat to Sunderland, an update on my statistics for results against sides that finished above us last season and in the three games played so far against sides in the current top ten, shows two wins in 21 games.
If you add in three FA Cup ties in the same time period against Coventry (including a replay) last season and Portsmouth on Saturday, that might as well read two wins in 24.
For much of the first-half on Saturday – I know we made nine changes – it really was another example of how poor we are when playing stronger opposition from our league.
Yet again, we were pedestrian, toothless and lacking ideas to hurt Portsmouth in the first-half. But, in typical Ipswich fashion, we were able to produce a better second half. Why can’t we be better for 90 minutes instead of 45?
Some fans are happy to see us lose and think it’s a blessing in disguise to be out of the FA Cup. If I want to feel blessed, I’ll give up football and start going to church.
It annoys me that yet again we are out of the cup quicker than a tea bag. One win in the FA Cup in 19 games and in over 10 years is not good enough. I am embarrassed by that fact and when did coming out of the cup to ‘concentrate on the league’ last serve us so well?
I will offer up a couple of positives though. When Lambert makes all these changes, he is also saying that players need to grasp the opportunity and give him something to think about.
Well in Janoi Donacien and Brett McGavin, I think there were two players that stood out and should be considered more moving forward. At the very least, McGavin seems an ideal replacement to cover Andre Dozzell whilst he is suspended.
As for Donacien, I guess we’ll see him feature at Crawley in the EFL Trophy tonight, but get eliminated from that competition too and you have to wonder if we’ll see much more of him at all this season, such is Lambert’s apparent desire to not have him involved very often for league matches.
Finally for this week, I saw a question on Twitter on Friday asking who the most underrated player is in the history of your club. For us, I offered up Trevor Whymark.
He starred a little before my time but having nominated him, I was glad to see the responses of older fans who confirmed that Trevor was indeed an excellent and underrated player for us.
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