Mike Bacon: This Blues feel-good factor, it's all we've ever asked for

Town fans celebrate.

Exciting times for Town fans - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Like a smoothly crafted Witches brew, the season at Portman Road is bubbling up nicely.

Idris El Mizouni's stunner at Oldham is just what was needed to keep this genuine feel-good factor among everyone at the club, well and truly alive. 

Okay, so we aren't going to win the FA Cup. But that was never the point of victory at Oldham.

Idris El Mizouni scores to put Ipswich in front in the 81st minute at Boundary Park.

Idris El Mizouni scores to put Ipswich in front in the 81st minute at Boundary Park. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

If we'd lost, Paul Cook having put out strong sides on two occasions in pursuit of victory, it could have re-opened old wounds about our lack of cup performances over the years.

And we simply didn't need that. Not now. Not now we are beginning to find ourselves.

The 'Pack Out Portman Road' initiative by the club, boosted by our superb supporters' efforts in accelerating it, as well as the owners and even the management and players, is just one thing for us all to be smiling about right now.

We have those owners who speak to us face to face, new signage appearing round the ground and, most crucially, on the pitch, just one defeat in 11 in all competitions, it's all the fans have ever asked for.

Idris El Mizouni celebrates scoring to put Ipswich in front in the 81st minute at Boundary Park.

Idris El Mizouni celebrates scoring Ipswich Town's winner at Oldham in the FA Cup. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Like the days so many of us are lucky enough to remember. Our club being loved by those who are the custodians and a competitive team on the pitch.

Which leads us to Sunderland on Saturday.

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Here we go again. Another big game. But isn't that how you want it? Just like the last big game which was only last weekend and the last big game before that, which was probably the weekend before that!

Thumbs up from Town manager Paul Cook ahead of the game

Can Paul Cook's team do it again on the road on Saturday? - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller - stephenw

Every game is a big one and now we head to the Stadium of Light. If ever there was a Premier League ground in League One, then this one is it.

The Mackems have lost their last three, we've netted four goals twice in recent away games at Pompey and Wycombe. Can we? Could we?

Let's be perfectly clear about this. A win for the Blues at Sunderland and we can genuinely begin to believe play-offs are now just the minimum this squad is capable of achieving this season.

Ipswich celebrate Bersant Celina's second score with the fans at Adams Park.

Ipswich Town players and fans celebrate Bersant Celina capping off a 4-1 win at Wycombe - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Yes, there will be the odd slip-up along the way and, as much as I don't especially like our 4-2-3-1 system, I think away from home it probably suits. At Portman Road, I'm not so sure. I think we could be a bit more brave.

Anyhow, enough of my mumbling about systems, what do I know? The bottom line is, as we head into December the Blues are still in two cup competitions and heading in the right direction in the table.

Four home games on the bounce after Saturday's clash in the north-east, two of them cup ones. This is what we have wanted for years - something to continually look forward to.

Bailey Clements in action against Oxford United.

Bailey Clements in action against Oxford United. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

It was good to see El Mizouni, Luke Woolfenden and Bailey Clements in the starting line-up at Oldham.

I'll be honest and I'll tell you I'm not alone, a few Town fans were starting to question whether our academy, which has done so much for this club over the decades, was set to be bombed out, with only new and established signings filling our starting XIs.

It's good to see that is not the case. Every good footie fan likes to see a player come through the ranks at their club. It's the DNA of what a club like Ipswich Town should be.

Of course we want our big signings, those that make that difference and give us the edge. But we need to produce our own as well.

So, back to the here and now.

It's an exciting time being a Town fan. Okay, so there is a long way to go, but heading in the right direction is always a good start.

I'll take four points from the next two games (Sunderland away and Rotherham at home). But this team is capable of all six. I can't imagine how we'll all feel if that were to happen.

On and off the pitch, it's coming together, the clouds have lifted and those grey days of the recent past are melting away.

Our hopes and dreams have not been higher for many years.


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