Mike Bacon: Haters gonna hate! But can Lambert keep those on his side of the fence happy? It's time to deliver
- Credit: Archant
WELL, this is it.
I genuinely think this is a very big few days ahead for Paul Lambert and Ipswich Town.
Two games at home against two of our nearest and dearest rivals in the League One promotion race. It's time to deliver.
I know - we've been here before. We've been here before a million times. But with players coming back from injury, this is the time now for the team to show their manager and us fans exactly what the second half of the season could be about.
That they are right behind him and the way he wants them to play. That they are relishing a promotion push.
If we lose both, I don't expect the manager to be going anywhere soon. Marcus Evans has said as much - but neither do I expect that to be the end of our promotion push.
However, not pick up at least four points and the faith that is currently being shown by - I wouldn't say a majority of fans, far from it - but certainly plenty, will be at a tipping point.
The haters are gonna hate. As far as many are concerned Lambert can go now. Town could beat Posh and Sunderland 4-0 and opinions won't change, even if we bring in new players during this transfer window. We're back to the Mick In, Mick Out scenario on that one.
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- 3 Suffolk to miss worst of thunderstorms - but heavy downpours still expected
- 4 Five cars and a horsebox involved in crash near RAF base
- 5 See inside stunning £2m Woodbridge home with 'fantastic leisure complex'
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- 8 Watch Town CEO Ashton wildly celebrate Lincoln win with Town fans
- 9 Cook proud of players after Town hold on for elusive first win
- 10 'It was a clear foul' - Imps boss Appleton angry after Town defeat
But there are also fans who are still very much sitting on the fence with Lambert and this team, most giving the injury crisis as a reason to do so. Some even sending in letters of support to the club on a regular basis, according to the boss.
For those of us who try and plough our way through the middle of life at Portman Road right now, looking to balance fans' frustrations with a manager's dilemma of that debilitating injury list, these next two games could tell us a great deal. Or, for many will tell them what they already think.
Yet, as we head into February, we aren't even half-way through the season. How many more points to play for? About 68 I reckon after the Sunderland game, but my maths isn't great, so don't hold me to that. But anyhow, it's a lot of points.
It felt sort of good to win at Burton. Not 'fantastic' good - just good.
Personally, I'm always happy when Town win. I used to be happy as a seven-year-old when Town beat Liverpool on the Saturday and Barcelona on the Tuesday night. And I'm still happy all these zillions of years later when/if we beat Accrington Stanley at the 'Wham Stadium'.
I also have a big respect for football fans.
They are the live-blood of the club. In the emotional rollercoaster of football, the fans are king, always there through thick and thin. True fans never change allegiances.
In saying that, I'm often a little uncomfortable when fans suggest they would rather the club lose a game if it meant the manager was closer to the sack!
Let's be honest, it's happened here at Town in recent years and months. But, I don't go there. I understand the passion, but I don't go there. I like us to win football matches. I feel better if we do.
OK, so right now at Ipswich, I don't like the formation we play or the tippy-tappy, slow-based football. If playing one up front and trying to play like Man City gets us out of League One, I'll tip my hat to all concerned. I just worry, it won't! And time is not on our side.
In the Championship, yep, I sort of get it. But down in this awful division, among less talented footballing teams, on difficult pitches, no, I'm not a fan. Get it forward, flick it on, get the midfielders piling in. Attack, attack, attack. Fitness, more than finesse is key down in League One. It has to be effective, not pretty.
Town fans could well start heading back to Portman Road soon - well March time. I hope I'm right on that one. Then again, I genuinely fear the reaction the players and management will get if we don't get them off their seats with a bit more excitement - let alone results.
Whether the current or recent management teams like it or not, Ipswich fans have been brought up on attacking and exciting football - especially at home over recent decades (not the most recent decade, I hasten to add!)
So, six out of six points by this time next week will be something to hang our hat on. It won't change most fans' opinions, but it will relieve the pressure.
Two defeats however....