Sunday Snap: Salvaging a positive, Quaner frustrations and a moment to warm the cockles
PUBLISHED: 06:00 03 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:20 03 February 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Andy Warren takes a look back at Ipswich Town’s 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday.
If you want to rescue a positive from this game, then it was the display of Teddy Bishop.
The midfielder started the week by scoring a hat-trick for the Under 23s and ended it by putting in a good display in the first-team.
His direct running, drive to goal and desire to make things happen add a new dimension to an Ipswich midfield lacking these qualities for far too long now.
He tired before being replaced on 74 minutes, but that was to be expected. He’s played 164 minutes of football this week – which is something that can’t have been said of him in a long time.
He’s out of contract in the summer but looks at a stage now where his body is going to allow him to prove he deserves a new one on the pitch.
That can only be a positive.
Under the radar
Considering this was his first Championship start in more than three months, and only the 10th of his career, this was a decent performance from Toto Nsiala.
That’s not to say he doesn’t give you those ‘heart in mouth moments’, which he did during this game. Most notable was the moment he simply switched off and allowed the ball to roll through to Fernando Forestieri. He would have been grateful to see the striker fluff his lines.
His game doesn’t suit Lambert’s plan of passing out of the back but, on this occasion, he performed ok with his feet.
He battled in the air and made a number of key blocks at vital times to keep the score at 0-0.
Should both Luke Chambers and James Collins fail to recover in time, the former Shrewsbury man could be relied upon in next weekend’s East Anglian Derby at Norwich.
Could have done more
German striker Collin Quaner has yet to truly find his feet at Ipswich Town.
His best display came off the bench at Aston Villa last weekend, when he ran the channels well and asked plenty of questions of the opposition backline.
He has struggled to do so from the start, though. His touch was lacking and he was never really able to open up his legs and test Wednesday. The ball just wouldn’t stick.
Ipswich looked better when Will Keane entered the game.
It was the opposite at Villa a week ago though, and that lack of consistency and potency in the forward line is a major part of why Ipswich are where they are.
Quaner has spent much of his time in English football playing wide so, given the Blues’ lack of out-and-out wingers right now, is it time to give him a try on the right?
And where does Ellis Harrison fit in? The Welshman’s season has been hampered by injuries but, whenever he has been on the field, he has shown signs he is capable of leading the line with a control and poise which has been absent when he’s not around.
For the second week in a row, the head of Trevoh Chalobah so nearly provided Ipswich with the goal they desperately needed.
A week ago at Aston Villa, the Chelsea loanee’s header came back off the post. This week, his effort was gathered on the line by Wednesday goalkeeper Keiron Westwood.
Had the youngster scored on either occasion, things could have been oh so different.
Moment you may have missed
Not so much one you may have missed, more one you may have forgotten.
There was a 10-second spell in the first-half of yesterday’s game when Bishop and Alan Judge put their bodies into tackles time and again as the pair looked to drive Ipswich forward. The referee let the incident play out and the supporters loved it, whipping the Portman Road crowd up.
Both Bishop and Judge could be forgiven for holding back given their recent injury problems, but both threw themselves in.
No mental blocks there.
It was a passage of play that reminded you momentarily of some of the blood and thunder clashes Portman Road has seen over the years, packed with heart, will and entertainment.
We’ve not seen that anywhere near enough at Portman Road in recent seasons.
In the absence of Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse captained Ipswich Town for the ninth time. He’s now captained the Blues as many times as Russell Osman and Allan Hunter. Thanks to the Renegade Statman on Twitter for this nugget of information.
Surely there is another way to kick a game off, than simply lumping the ball forward to the flanks?
That’s exactly how Sheffield Wednesday started this game, with their effort heading straight out for a throw, while it feels as if every Ipswich kick-off has gone this way for the last decade.
Time for a change.
Down by the tunnel
The wait to interview Ipswich players after games is not a fun task during the winter months.
It was bitterly cold on this occasion and increasingly wet, during the wait to speak with Cole Skuse by the tunnel area.
But this reporter’s cockles were warmed by the sight of Freddie Sears’ young son, dressed head to toe in Ipswich kit and sporting a ‘Bluey and Crazee’ backpack, asking his dad for a picture on the Portman Road pitch before preceding to run the length of the field from the tunnel area towards the North Stand while his dad just stood and watched.
He’s clearly inherited his dad’s work ethic.
It was lovely to see.
As Ipswich prepare to head up the A140 for next weekend’s clash with Norwich, it’s worth reflecting just how much the two sides’ fortunes have changed since their last meeting at the start of September.
Ipswich were 23rd following the 1-1 draw at Portman Road, played out between two very average teams, but Norwich were just two points better off in 17th.
You came away from that feeling there were more reasons to be positive from an Ipswich perspective, with steps being made in the early days of the Paul Hurst era, than the stuttering Daniel Farke project.
Oh how wrong those feelings were.
The gap is now 39 points, with next Sunday’s game becoming a top vs bottom affair thanks to the Canaries’ 3-1 win at Leeds last night.