Mike Bacon: This Ipswich team has Paul Cook's style stamped all over it

Fans back at Portman Road.

Fans back at Portman Road. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

I don't know about you but I thoroughly enjoyed that on Saturday.

Ipswich Town's return home in front of their fans after more than seven months may not have ended in victory, but Paul Cook's new-look Blues gave us plenty to be positive about, plenty to cheer about.

There won't be many Town fans who went home either concerned or disappointed.

I'll talk more about the game and new players in a moment, but oh boy it was so nice to be back at a live Town game.

Fans back at Portman Road.

Fans back at Portman Road. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Walking through Cardinal Park seeing Ipswich fans eating in the restaurants clad in their blue shirts. Youngsters skipping excitedly alongside parents as they headed towards the turnstiles, fans trying on their new Town shirts outside Planet Blue having just made their purchase. And of course the new signage on the Cobbold Stand, 'Our Town, Our Team'.

Like many, my neck was craned as I walked along taking in all the great times our club has enjoyed over the years, the new signage looking so good.

There is a long way to go to tidy up Portman Road, but this is a great start.

So to the game.

Well, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as the teams came out to what was a deafening reception.

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Town fans really can make so much noise. How many were in there on Saturday, 6,000? Wow! It felt like 26,000. Just imagine when we do get the regular 20K+ crowds in, which I think we will. The atmosphere is going to be terrific. It will bounce onto the players.

I spoke to Rekeem Harper after the game and you could tell he was still on a high, having lapped up the atmosphere, enjoyed the performance, and this is just pre-season.

Joe Pigott battles with Tyrick Mitchell.

Joe Pigott battles with Tyrick Mitchell. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com

Of course, Palace were a class above and Wilfried Zaha in a class of his own. I must admit Zaha is one of the my favourite current Premier League players, doing it week in, week out with one of the less fashionable clubs in the League.

But for the Blues it was a new look, a new feel but with some familiar faces t'boot.

None more so than Kane Vincent-Young who really does look to have his mojo back. He has the ability to be one of the best right-backs in League One this season, his marauding runs are set to delight us.

There were positives everywhere. Wes Burns turning on the afterburners at times, he'll skin defenders, Joe Pigott, a ball-playing striker who showed he knows where the goal is as his second-half 20-yarder thundered off the post.

Wes Burns in action against Crystal Palace.

Wes Burns in action against Crystal Palace. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Harper, Scott Fraser, Matt Penney all impressed, new keeper Václav Hladký producing nice saves and good distribution. Lee Evans set to return next week, more signings still to come in. Chuck in a solid captain's performance from Toto Nsiala and James Norwood working his socks off up front, young Cameron Humphreys getting and taking his chance. I liked it all.

The work rate, quick movement, crosses into the box, this team already has Paul Cook's style stamped all over it.

Town manager Paul Cook acknowledges fans calling for a wave.

Town manager Paul Cook acknowledges fans calling for a wave. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

It's only pre-season, yes I know, and there is a full League One programme with plenty of good teams up against us. You win nothing in July, but as I have said many times in this column in recent months, this does genuinely feel very different.

We have a solid team, a manager who knows how to win, new owners who understand our past and want much for our future and a chairman and CEO who will look to make things happen on and off the pitch.

Our brilliant fans, who have endured so much in recent years, have a huge role to play, and play it they will.

If Saturday's atmosphere was anything to go by, bring it on.

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