Fuller Flavour: The hole Town still have to fill before window shuts

Town manager Paul Cook cut a lonely figure as he headed towards the tunnel with his head down after

Town manager Paul Cook cut a lonely figure as he headed towards the tunnel with his head down after being his side squander a 2-0 lead. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Ipswich Town fan Karl Fuller shares his thoughts on the Blues after their 2-2 draw with AFC Wimbledon...

It used to be the hope that killed us, now it is rapidly becoming the predictability of it all.

I am a betting man, I just don’t bet big. But as I very rarely win, it is still something for me to enjoy. The trouble is, as I win so rarely, I’ve gotten to the point where I bet as a form of reverse psychology.

Take the third cricket test for example, and at the point where India were still so far behind on Saturday morning, yet with only two wickets down and little trust in the England cricket team these days, you knew that we could still be capable of rescuing a defeat from the jaws of victory.

So, a couple of quid on an Indian win was just the job as they soon lost eight quick wickets to give England a victory. I may have been two pound down but nevertheless, I enjoyed the win much more.

So, what I didn’t want at Portman Road in the afternoon, against yet another team wearing all red, was another ‘Desmond’ (2-2).

Cameron Burgess pictured after Wimbledon had equalised in stoppage time.

Cameron Burgess pictured after Wimbledon had equalised in stoppage time. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

The sure way to prevent that from happening was for me to put money on such an outcome. Don’t you just hate it when a plan doesn’t come together!

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Even the thought of some decent winnings (at least in my book) could not take away the pain of yet a further winless game.

Walking out of the ground, the stark reality hit me that I have not vacated my second home on the back of a victory since January 2020.

When Wes Burns fired us into a two-goal lead, it looked for all the world that my reverse psychology bet was going to pay off once again.

Town fans celebrate going 2-0 up.

Town fans celebrate going 2-0 up. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

But the moment Wimbledon pulled a goal back a short while later, that sense of predictably crept in and it really was only a matter of time.

That moment for me was as soon as they were awarded a 95th minute corner. You just knew they’d score.

The bigger picture for me remains one of patience and relative calmness. But dissecting each game at present is painful.

I kept questioning how as professional footballers, we can’t beat the first man from most of our corners, but the opposition seem to be able to achieve this to find one of their own. Whilst we continue to gift soft goals, why in return are we not seeing ourselves benefitting in the same way?

No wins in our opening five games and everything so quiet at the top of the club is almost a microcosm of times under Marcus Evans and Paul Lambert.

In many ways, we are so much better to watch than in those days. But something is not clicking and why is that?

Is it just simply the process and taking time to gel? Does everything just get so easily hyper-analysed these days? Or are there justifiable reasons for concern already?

I’ll offer my thoughts and you may or may not agree. On the pitch, I think we’re still lacking something in midfield. So often, there’s a gaping hole left unfilled.

I think that despite our plethora of signings, we are missing that player who does the ‘dirty’ side of the game. The ball winner, the captain material and the one who stitches our movements from back to front. They are hard to find. If we’re going to find one, we’ve only got until 11pm tomorrow night.

Ipswich keeper Vaclav Hladky keeps his eyes on the ball.

Ipswich keeper Vaclav Hladky keeps his eyes on the ball. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

I hate to single out players so early in the season, but Vaclav Hladky needs to be taken out of goal. He doesn’t seem either vocal or commanding enough for me at present.

He certainly hasn’t been the goalkeeper that was billed during his transfer to us. Our fitness hasn’t improved at all. We’re still picking up numerous injuries and from about the hour mark in each game so far, we’ve looked a different outfit.

As Mick McCarthy would say, some of our players have looked ‘goosed’.

And off the field of play, Paul Cook’s inexperienced coaching set-up may or may not be more of a cause for concern as the next few weeks come and go. We’ll see.

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