Ipswich Town have shown their toughness, now they need to show their talent to make the top six

Ipswich Town

Ipswich Town - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town’s play-off hopes may have taken a major body blow with the recent 1-0 home defeat to Rotherham, but a lot could happen over the next five weeks.

Town manager Mick McCarthy yells from the touchline during the Ipswich Town v Rotherham United (Cham

Town manager Mick McCarthy yells from the touchline during the Ipswich Town v Rotherham United (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 19 March 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Mick McCarthy’s men have, undoubtedly, been below par in 2016. Their five victories in this calendar year – Leeds at home aside – have been far from convincing, while the three draws and six defeats have sparked debate about the continued lack of creative spark in the team.

And yet, the fact remains that the Blues are still just four points adrift of sixth spot with eight games to go – starting with Saturday’s trip to mid-table Wolves.

It’s looking like a case of five teams into two regarding fifth and sixth spot. Things can change very quickly in the Championship and pressure can do funny things to people.

For all the talk about Town’s underwhelming performances, they have claimed more points in their last six games than Middlesbrough, Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham.

Those of a positive disposition will point to the fact that McCarthy admitted to getting his team selection wrong after his players were booed off the field at Portman Road last time out.

The hope is that now, with home games against bottom seven sides Charlton, Brentford, Fulham and MK Dons to come, the Blues boss will be bold with his choice of personnel and tactics.

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Direct winger Liam Feeney made an encouraging debut as a second-half substitute, while David McGoldrick made his long-awaited return from injury for the Under-21s last week.

Those two could provide a timely boost to team-mates and supporters alike.

Big-spending Derby will have their late collapse last season in the back of their minds, while Cardiff and Birmingham are also having inquests about the lack of a cutting edge right now.

It’s the business end of the season and this is when the cream rises to the top. Town have proven their mental toughness on numerous occasions during the McCarthy era. Now they need to show they have the talent too.

See here for Stuart Watson’s thoughts on the sides looking to secure a Championship play-off spot