Karl Fuller: Player-of-the-year? Here are my nominations

Macauley Bonne vents his frustration towards referee Craig Hicks following the final whistle.

Macauley Bonne vents his frustration towards referee Craig Hicks following the final whistle against Cambridge United on Saturday. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

I think that is just about it folks.

Our play-off aspirations of recent weeks were at best, a dream that could be achieved. Realistically, they are just about over now.

Saturday was frustrating, the result was gutting and the performance was under par. On Friday, I had read that we have never beaten Cambridge in a league game, and it has been six years since we won a Saturday home game in the month of April.

They are facts that would normally have me worried. But this is the McKenna era. We are better than anything that has occurred in the recent past.

The defeat however, is a reminder to both me and those of you in a similar mindset that we are not there yet.

But, I will not let one defeat in 12 overly worry me in the long term. The bottom line is that we do not score enough goals.

Cameron Burgess in a battle with Sam Smith.

Cameron Burgess in a battle with Cambridge United's Sam Smith. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

That is an area where we will need to strengthen. Another area is on the dark arts side of the game.

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Cambridge, from very early on in the first-half, dragged us into a game that suited them. They disrupted the flow with moments of time-wasting and in general, had a game plan that worked to perfection.

I’m afraid that on the day, you just have to hold your hands up and say that the canniest side won, even if they were not the best, fair play to them.

They were not the first side to draw us into a game that was anything but one for the purists. Their style was effective and as a result, frustrations boiled over for Ipswich players and fans.

Cameron Burgess (on ground) gets the ball in the back of the net for Town, but Sone Aluko (right) wa

Cameron Burgess (on ground) gets the ball in the back of the net for Ipswich Town late on in last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Cambridge, but Sone Aluko (right) was adjudged to have been offside. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Yes, there were some moments of irritation from the match officials, but we cannot blame them.

And the time wasting tactics are sadly part of the game that teams will take advantage of. We take this defeat on the chin and Kieran McKenna can now use these last five games to learn a bit more about some players before assembling a squad over the summer that I am still really excited about.

I attended the fans forum last Tuesday night and really enjoyed the positivity and energy that transmitted from the top table. The club is in good hands right now and the future looks bright.

Player of the Year voting has opened and for the first time in a few seasons, there are some very worthy contenders. I will need a couple of weeks yet before I cast my vote. In no particular order, my choices are at least narrowed down to the following players:

Christian Walton has been the best goalkeeper the club has had for a few years. He has a calming presence, makes some great saves, takes crosses very well and is a solid foundation for McKenna to build from.

Sam Morsy is the driving force behind the team. He sets a lot of our forward play into motion, is difficult to shake off the ball (some of his twists and turns on Saturday were very Thijssen-esque like) and is a captain of real leadership.

James Norwood and Adam May collide.

James Norwood and Adam May collide. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Had George Edmundson not picked up his injury when he did, I believe that he could have been a real contender - another excellent signing this season.

Luke Woolfenden has been a revelation in the second-half of the season, He just needed a manager to put an arm around him, trust him and give him a proper run.

Then there are the two players that perhaps I will eventually make a choice from.

Janoi Donacien has been immense this season. He has been Mr Consistent in my book. How on earth did previous managers not see his strengths that he offers the team?

Luke Woolfenden is shown the yellow card late in the game.

Luke Woolfenden is shown the yellow card late in the game against Cambridge. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

And finally there is Wes Burns. I’ve always said it. When Burns is on fire, Ipswich are on fire.

He has weighed in with a significant amount of goals and is usually a constant threat down the right. If we can find someone of equal measure down the left, we will be a real force.

There is no doubt a difficult decision that has to be made soon.