Ipswich Town SWOT analysis: The Threats which could derail the Blues’ promotion charge
- Credit: Archant
This week we are analysing Ipswich Town’s start to the League One season which sees them top the table at the quarter mark. Next up ANDY WARREN looks at the potential threats ahead for the Blues.
Ipswich Town are top of League One and remain unbeaten at the quarter mark of the season.
This week we'll be looking at the Blues' start to the campaign, putting them through a SWOT analysis to assess the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of Paul Lambert's men.
Here, we analyse potential threats which lie ahead.
Dealing with a setback
Ipswich Town are unbeaten in 11 games and sit atop the League One pile.
But how will Paul Lambert's men deal with defeat or further on-field set-backs? Will they get straight back on the horse and put things right quickly or could a loss shake confidence and throw an element of doubt into the mix?
- 1 Man with foot fetish jailed for sexually assaulting women
- 2 Nine Ipswich players who could follow Nsiala out the door this month
- 3 Van driver in his 20s dies in Elmswell crash
- 4 Road near A14 closed after 'serious' two-vehicle crash
- 5 'Versatile, hungry, athletic and technical' - McKenna on new signing Bakinson
- 6 See inside £1.25m bungalow for sale in one of Suffolk's 'poshest' villages
- 7 'I'm not bothered... he can go' - Pearson on Town target Bakinson
- 8 Town working on loan deal for Bristol City midfielder
- 9 Flood alert issued for parts of Suffolk coastline
- 10 Village hall treasurer jailed after stealing cash to help his business
A loss will surely come at some point so it will be fascinating to see how Lambert's men respond.
We do have evidence to suggest they will be ok, though.
Luke Chambers' mistake in the game with Sunderland could have shaken the Town captain but he and his side responded to that set-back with a gutsy stoppage-time equaliser to draw at Peterborough just a week later.
Ipswich responded to their worst half of the season, after which they trailed 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon, by scoring twice late on to secure a 2-1 victory.
The signs are good, but responding to a league defeat will be a different test.
Enemy on the inside
Luke Garbutt was the latest player to state his belief that Ipswich may have to be their own worst enemy if their promotion charge is to truly be derailed this season.
And you can see where he and his team-mates are coming from.
The strong start to the season has put Ipswich in a strong position, looking down on the rest of the league, and you have to believe they will be in great shape when the business end of the season arrives if they remain hard to beat and keep their standards high.
But, let them drop, and the door could be open to threats from below.
The threat of others
After early wobbles, Peterborough are finding a rhythm while Sunderland will be looking to make progress following the appointment of Phil Parkinson.
Rotherham are battle-hardened at this level and will surely come on strong under Paul Warne while Portsmouth will be expected to improve as Kenny Jackett's men find their feet following summer departures.
Town's ultra-consistent start has given them a good cushion and plenty of breathing room, but it would be naïve to dismiss charges from elsewhere.
As mentioned in the 'Opportunities' section of this analysis, no side top of the table at this time has gone on to secure automatic promotion since Bristol City in 2015.
Ipswich certainly aren't home and dry.
Ipswich could play as many as eight games during a 25-day spell in November as they handle the demands of league, FA Cup and EFL Trophy action. That's a game every three days for more than three weeks.
When you take travel, recovery and the demands of training into account, that's a hectic spell indeed.
Lambert has a big squad, of course, but what are the chances of the busy schedule catching up on Ipswich eventually?
History suggests it's entirely possible.
Town are already into the knockout stages of the Trophy and a prolonged run in that, as well as advances in the FA Cup and possible replays, could see Ipswich encroach on the mythical 60-game mark often used as an example by Lambert when discussing the strains on his group.
The two previous losing EFL Trophy finalists, Sunderland and Shrewsbury, played 61 and 59 respectively in years when they dropped out of the automatic promotion places late on and ultimately lost in the play-offs.
The fear, founded in reality or not, is that Ipswich could suffer the same fate.
Ipswich have dealt with injuries well so far this season.
They entered the campaign with 10 on the sidelines but have negotiated that spell well, with the likes of Gwion Edwards, Jon Nolan and Alan Judge all working their way back into the fold.
Before an international-break flurry, which has seen doubts emerge over James Norwood, Kane Vincent-Young and Flynn Downes, Ipswich have stayed relatively free of new injuries aside from a knee problem which sidelined Garbutt for a month.
But it would be an ask for Ipswich to respond should they lose central figures, such as Tomas Holy, Cole Skuse, Luke Chambers and either Norwood or Kayden Jackson, for a prolonged period.
Would the 'next man up' mentality see Ipswich through or would the loss of a key man lead to a decline? Hopefully we won't need to find out.
We must also remember that Freddie Sears, Teddy Bishop and Jack Lankester are all waiting to come back, of course, while Toto Nsiala, Will Keane and Emyr Huws are still not quite at top gear.