Ipswich Town is rapidly becoming a club in crisis

IPSWICH Town is rapidly becoming a club in crisis.

The Blues crashed out of the FA Cup at the third round stage for the fifth time in eight seasons on Saturday with a 3-1 defeat at Hull City.

It was the 10th time this season the Championship’s leakiest defence has conceded three goals or more in a game, with basic individual defensive errors again their downfall.

An average of a point-per-game from their final 22 matches should – going on last season’s final league table – be enough to ensure survival.

However, Town have now lost 10 of their last 13 games and, with tough-looking games against Birmingham, Blackpool, Leeds and West Ham coming up, it’s difficult to see where the next points are coming from at present.

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Owner Marcus Evans continues to remain conspicuous by his silence, with fans longing for firm details of the vague ‘five-year plan’ that has filtered down to them via the Chinese whispers system involving chief executive Simon Clegg and manager Paul Jewell.

Clegg himself has expressed his shock at the criticism that has come in his direction recently, while Jewell has simply been unable to get the best out of his expensively-assembled squad.

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Ivar Ingimarsson has now joined Colin Healy in having the remainder of his contract partly paid up by the club this season.

And then there’s the likes of Carlos Edwards and Jason Scotland – two of 16 players in the final six months of their contracts – who are becoming increasingly frustrated with continually delayed negotiations.

Reading reserve keeper Alex McCarthy is set to sign on a three-month loan today, but the team needs much more strengthening.

Joining a sinking ship can hardly be an attractive proposition for any target – and while Evans may be able to use his financial muscle to pip any opposition to deals for the likes of Sean St Ledger and Keith Andrews – can the club risk increasing an already bloated wage bill while the threat of relegation hangs over it?

A drop to the third tier of English football for the first time in over 50 years is certainly unthinkable.

But that is quickly becoming a very real prospect given continued on and off-field problems.

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