Mike Bacon: 'If you’re in the shirt and you play well, then it’s yours to lose...' Really?

Flynn Downes is booked during the first half at Peterborough. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Town players in action at Peterborough on Tuesday night - Credit: Pagepix Limited

'If the manager didn't want me to play, fine. But if I had the shirt, I wanted to keep it.'

Those are the recent words of Carlos Edwards, the former Town skipper who played for the Blues from 2009-2014, picked up nearly 100 caps for Trindad & Tobago, played in the Premier League and the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Flashback: Carlos Edwards celebrates his late winner for Ipswich Town against Derby County. Picture:

Carlos Edwards - always wanted to keep the shirt - Credit: Archant

I interviewed Carlos a month or so ago and his words, still fresh in my mind, came back to me on Tuesday night when I saw the Town team-sheet for the Peterborough game. On the back of a decent win and performance over Blackpool, Paul Lambert made four changes.

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As well as Carlos' words, I then remembered Lambert saying similar at the start of this season... 'If you’re in the shirt and you play well, then it’s yours to lose,' he said.

Yet on Tuesday, 'the shirt' was frivolously given away from strong starting performers who helped beat the Tangerines, to other players in the squad, for reasons such as 'a heavy pitch', 'physical opponents'... Momentum cast aside at a whim.

James Norwood celebrates scoring Ipswich's opening goal at Peterborough. Picture Pagepix Ltd

James Norwood celebrates scoring Ipswich's opening goal at Peterborough. - Credit: Pagepix Limited

Now, I don't pretend to know all there is about football management/coaching or sports science. Neither do I pretend to know why Ipswich players (and many others), when I was a young kid, used to play 50/60 games a season and the only time they weren't selected - if they were good enough and the team was winning - was when they were injured, suspended, or heaven forbid - for them anyhow - dropped.

Today, Ipswich Town appear trapped in a footballing world of confusion, over-thought, over-analysis, U-turns and lack of faith.

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We sign teenagers who impress, but are then dropped. Players who have had to wait to grab their opportunities and after being made man-of-the-match one minute, benched the next.

Yes, we know it's a tough schedule, but what happened to common sense? If they're fit and raring to go, and played well last time out, play them. They are young, fit men for goodness sake.

Luke Matheson during the warm-up at Peterborough. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Luke Matheson enjoyed an encouraging debut against Blackpool, but was rested for the subsequent 2-1 defeat at Peterborough. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Limited

More importantly, what happened to owning 'the shirt'?

Of course, if a player is coming back from injury you may well break them in slowly off the bench, or give them 60 minutes. If a player is getting tired after 60, having played three days earlier, sub him. We get that.

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When Carlos Edwards played he wanted to play, week in, week out. He was lucky with injuries, and from 2010 to 2013 he averaged almost 48 games a season for Town. He's still playing today, aged 42, for Bury Town.

I use Carlos as an example - I could pick hundreds of players with similar, even more impressive records, including actually, Paul Lambert, who I can't ever imagine was delighted to lose his shirt for any reason.

Goalkeeper Pym and Frankie Kent celebrate their win over Ipswich on the final whistle at Peterborou

Peterborough keeper Christy Pym and Frankie Kent celebrate their win over Ipswich on the final whistle at Peterborough. Picture Pagepix Ltd - Credit: Pagepix Limited

So, defeat at Peterborough and all the good work and positivity from Saturday's win over Blackpool has been lost in a mist of computer print-outs, tablets, analysis, red zones, green zones, polka-dot zones and no doubt meetings - plenty of meetings.

Just play the same winning team. 

If it all goes belly up, it goes belly up. It went belly up anyhow. The management of Ipswich Town had the easiest get out of jail card, if they wanted one, had Lambert picked the same team and then they had lost.... All he had to say was he wanted to give the same lads a chance who had done so well for him on Saturday! Who would have argued with that?

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks to Raheem Sterling during a Premier League match at Anf

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks to Raheem Sterling during a Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

I've said this a million times. We're not Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool or Man U.

Pep, Tuchel, Klopp and Ole have 20, 30, 40, 50 million pound players on the bench. They can rotate a full team and still beat most of the lower half of the Premier League.

Yes, League One is tough. League One can be physical. But if we are signing loan players in their teens, we must put our faith in them as young men and professional footballers. And while there is nothing wrong with protecting them, there is little reason to be leaving them scratching their heads by not selecting them after a winning performance.

Town fans celebrating at Portman Road. Packed scenes like this won't be seen for some time yet, but

The discord growing, rifts between fans and club getting ever wider. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

And so we are back to square one.

The discord growing, rifts between fans and club getting ever wider. I honestly can't believe what is happening to our once-great football club.

Yes, there are lots of points still up for grabs. Yes, we could still get promoted. We hear it every week.

No-one can write it off until it is completely written off. We know.

Six points against Shrewsbury on Saturday and Northampton on Tuesday and who knows? I'm just as bad... Here I go again trying to be positive.

I honestly don't mind to be proved so very wrong about it all.

But today..... Roll on the summer.

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