Mike Bacon: Can Town make play-offs? Here's my take

Conor Chaplin and Wes Burns pictured after the 3-0 victory over Burton Albion.

Love it if Conor Chaplin, Wes Burns and Town could gate crash the play-offs - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

It's going to take some finish from the Blues for them to gate crash this season's League One party, that's now clear.

Undefeated in nine, a rock solid defence but can Kieran McKenna's side make significant inroads towards the play-offs? Well, only a tad, so it appears.

What is it with this league this season? No-one seems to get beaten unless they play another play-off/promotion-chasing side. And even then there are plenty of draws.

Just when you need one team or two to begin to implode, slip down the table and allow in-form teams like Ipswich to make hay, it doesn't happen.

Even Sunderland have just strung together back-to-back wins just when everyone thought they were bombing.

It's doing my head in. All these opposition managers telling us how great we are. A draw (as the Blues got against Pompey last weekend) feeling like a defeat. It's demoralising.

So, eight games to go, 24 points up for grabs.

Macauley Bonne reacts after his late goal was disallowed.

Macauley Bonne reacts after his late goal was disallowed. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

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Win the lot and Town finish the season on 84 points and a play-off place. Two points per game from now on in and it's 76 points. In any other season that would be good enough, but not seemingly this season it won't.

Everyone tells us Ipswich will be the ones to watch next season. Oh, whoopy do. Who cares about next season?

Everyone told us Town would be the ones to watch this season. It's only since Christmas the team have been worth taking note of.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna puts an arm round Conor Chaplin after the game.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna puts an arm round Conor Chaplin after the game. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Then again, I would love it, just love it (as Kevin Keegan would say), if Town did go on some outlandish run from now on in and smash their way to 80 points and a play-off place.

Can I see that? Well, as much as my glass is usually half full when it comes to the Blues, I can't.

Are Town honestly going to win at Oxford this weekend and Rotherham in a few weeks? Will Plymouth and Wigan head west and north with their tails between their legs after the Blues turn them over at Portman Road in the coming weeks.

You feel it could happen but, as for the past goodness knows how many years, we are a team that keeps coming up short against the bigger hitters.

Town players celebrate James Norwoods first half goal.

Ipswich Town won 19 games in 2021 - the most recent of which was a 1-0 home victory against Wycombe. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

McKenna has worked wonders. Let's get that straight. If, buts and maybes, yet we all know if he'd been with us from the start of the season, Ipswich Town would be top six with no difficulties.

He's come in and it's taken him five minutes to address issues, get the team playing football again, coaching them, and get the fans on his side. I can't speak highly enough of him, only to say for the first time in a decade the footballing side of our club is now about the players - and not the manager.

I so hope he continues to progress, seeks advice and backs himself.

So, Oxford this weekend.

Wins on Tuesday night for Wigan, Rotherham, Plymouth and Wycombe (94th minute winner!), means despite the Blues' good unbeaten run, Town are still six points off the top six.

There is nothing to lose now.

It's ruthless time, four strikers on the pitch, that sort of thing! I'm only kidding, Town can't go gung ho. Well they can, but I don't quite think that's in McKenna's make up, or maybe it is!

So, we will just have to see where the next month takes us.

On the negative side, as fans or journalists we have to continue to reflect on our awful start and accept that being in the Championship next season is still a very long shot.

But from a positive, we can look forward and be grateful for the fact that it appears, after years and years of trying, Ipswich Town might just have struck gold again in the manager stakes.

It's been way too long.