Mike Bacon on the Blues: I was wrong, Lambert was right – Town are proving a potent force
In his latest Ipswich Town column, MIKE BACON makes an apology. He of little faith!
Guilty as charged!
Yes, I was one of them. You know... One of THOSE TYPES! The 'lack of faith' brigade.
I was a Town fan who could not get my head around why on earth we would want to postpone a league match at Rochdale on a Saturday afternoon in sunny September when we were six unbeaten in the league, three wins on the bounce and our momentum was at full speed... All because we were missing a few players on international duty - most who had been primarily on the subs bench.
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Now we would have to go to Rochdale on a cold, dark autumnal night in November and get a result. I was convinced I knew what would happen - and it wasn't good.
But what do I know?... I'm embarrassed at myself for my lack of faith.
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It's all those dull as ditch water years mid-table in the Championship that have caused me to be so negative.
But I'm getting there.
Paul Lambert's cool, calculating persona is transforming my mojo towards this mentally strong squad.
This is Ipswich Town Football Club 2019, where excuses can be left on the bus, opponents are of no concern, where the manager swats away superstition with contempt, the owner speaks to us, Ed Sheeran is our biggest fan... And we take nearly 1,000 supporters to places like Rochdale on a Tuesday night!
Wow! What fun. What a club to be associated with.
I laid in bed last night and just starred at it.... (Oh, for goodness sake, behave).
It's rare I take my phone to bed.
But the League One table was just a delight to look at. OK, so we can't shake those pesky Wycombe Wanderers away just yet, but look at the gap to third, fourth, sixth! (I can count, I just didn't think fifth that relevant).
OK, we are not playing our very best, but Lambert has instilled far more than just pretty patterns into this Town team.
His winning mentality as a player and boss is now bearing fruit at IP1.
Long way to go and all that. But make no bones about it, Tuesday night's win at Rochdale, just as the previous win at Southend, who were under a new manager, was huge.
There are no easy games. But this manager, squad and fans are one. What a potent force it is proving.
And all the time I hear these irritating voices in my head... 'Be careful what you wish for'.
Who would be a pundit who doesn't know what they are talking about, hey?
FOR the first time in goodness knows how many years I'm not sure I want an FA Cup run.
I know, sounds crazy.
I'd have given away my Back to the Future boxset to have progressed into the sixth round (okay, fourth round), of the FA Cup in recent years/decades.
Now, I'm sitting here sort of really hoping we beat Lincoln and reach the second round... But what if it all means a congested fixture list?
Already we appear to be one of, if not the, most decorated squads in League One, calling off games as our players fly around the world on international duty... (Slight exaggeration, but you get my drift).
Although I suppose at Rochdale we have showed we can cope. I shouldn't fret.
"Stop your whining," was all Milky could contribute as the, "would an FA Cup run be good for our promotion push?", debate down at the Queen's Head continued with vigour on a recent darts night, away at our local rivals.
"Watch this finish.... Bull, bull, double 12", Milky continued, as he headed to the oche with a pork pie in one hand and half a rolled-up ciggie and pint of Ghost Ship in the other.
We were already 0-6 down, so no-one cared. His maths is crap anyhow. He needed 132!
Which takes me back to this FA Cup run conundrum.
I suppose to erase the memories of THAT game on TV THAT night when the non-league Imps beat us, I really want us to win.
And to be honest, it would be nice to still be in the FA Cup come the start of 2020.
But I so want us promoted first and foremost, I'm actually not that bothered... Just for this season!