Are Town better side after £12m outlay?

SINCE Ipswich Town walloped Bristol City at Portman Road last season they have signed 12 players with an outlay approaching £12million.

Elvin King

SINCE Ipswich Town walloped Bristol City at Portman Road last season they have signed 12 players with an outlay approaching £12million.

It was on November 10 last year that the Blues blasted Bristol 6-0, and fans will be able to see what improvements have been made tomorrow when the west country side return to Suffolk.

Okay, no one expects Jim Magilton's side to match last term's fantastic victory as six-goal thumpings come round only rarely even for table-topping sides - but pitting their wits against Gary Johnson's team will certainly offer a yardstick.

Of the team that started the Bristol game last campaign five were in the Ipswich side that played so deplorably at Norwich City on Sunday.

One was on the bench at Carrow Road, two are out on loan and three have left.

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If Town fail to impress tomorrow supporters will be asking if Dan Harding and Billy Clarke, currently on loan and unlikely to have their contracts renewed by Town in the summer, could do a better job still than those brought in over the last 11 months.

Are Town now better served in goal, at the back, in midfield and up front than they were when the following side trotted out against Bristol last season: Alexander; Wright, De Vos, Bruce, Harding; Walters, Miller, Garvan, Clarke; Lee, Counago?

On the bench were Danny Haynes (on for Lee 37 minutes), Gary Roberts (on for Walters 75 minutes), Sylvain Legwinski (on for Garvan 79 minutes), Shane Supple and Fabian Wilnis.

Walters notched a hat-trick with Wright, Miller (penalty) and Counago the other marksmen.

Town were beaten in the away games that preceded and followed that six-goal rout of a Bristol team that was around the top of the Coca-Cola Championship at the time.

So everything was not rosy, and there was not quite enough about the squad to secure a play-off place.

But is there enough about the current much bigger and much more expensive squad?

The half-way point of the season is rapidly approaching and yes there is plenty of time and yes a couple of new additions in January could make a big difference.

But unless Town rapidly improve on a current record of just one win in five games they will very soon be down among the sides trying to keep their heads above water ahead of the floundering bottom three.

And on the record so far of a side that have only once put two wins together there will not be too much confidence among supporters that any additions will be of the necessary calibre to turn the current tide.

Six points against Bristol City and Cardiff - also at home on Saturday - and everything in the garden will be rosy again.

But the pressure is on, and precious little confidence among fans that it will happen. Tomorrow's game will offer a litmus test.

Bristol will be without Jamie McAllister (toe), Lee Johnson (ankle) and Dele Adebola (dead leg). Liam Fontaine is set to continue at left back.

N (SQUARE) THE dozen players Ipswich Town have brought in since Marcus Evans took over the club 12 months ago are: Richard Wright, Gareth McAuley, David Norris, Kevin Lisbie, Jon Stead, Pim Balkestein, Darren Ambrose (loan), Ivan Campo, Moritz Volz (loan), Alan Quinn, Veliche Shumulikoski, and Ben Thatcher.