North Stander: 'We'll win the next two - but then what?'
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Journalist and Ipswich Town fan Terry Hunt offers his latest thoughts on the Blues...
It keeps happening. Ipswich win a couple of games, look good, and we all start getting excited about the play-offs. Then - the seemingly inevitable big let-down and the harsh reality.
Why can’t we win three games on the trot, let alone the five or six that we really need to surge up the table and give ourselves a realistic chance? I’ve said it before, but it’s so frustrating and I cannot explain it.
I’m certainly no expert, but it seems that our players are affected by some kind of weird herd mentality. When things are good, they all play well. But at other times - and there are a string of examples with this group - they all have an off-day.
It happened again at Sheffield Wednesday. Look at the ratings given to our players by my colleagues. Lots of four and fives. You’re not going to win many games like that - certainly not away at decent teams like Wednesday.
It was all summed up by the early, and crucial, Wednesday goal. It was epitomised by the part Wes Burns played. A hero with his two goals at Wimbledon, but guilty of losing his man for the goal on Saturday. We all love Wes, but that was poor.
Let me look into my crystal ball. I am as certain as I can be that we will win our next two games, against hopeless strugglers Gillingham and Doncaster. I’m pretty sure we will absolutely batter Gillingham, who seem to be in free fall.
So, that will give us six points, and no doubt the last play-off place will appear tantalisingly close again. But then - and here’s the big question - will we be able to back it up by going to high-flying MK Dons and getting three points? Or will we fall at the third hurdle yet again?
Yes, I know there was some explanation for the lacklustre display at Wednesday. Without skipper Sam Morsy and his midfield partner Lee Evans, the heart was ripped from our team. Their replacements were not at the same level.
In truth, the display was rather reminiscent of the bad old Paul Lambert days. Loads of possession, but absolutely no threat. It might as well have been me in the home goal.
Talking of goal threat, surely it’s time to give Joe Pigott a chance. Here’s a player who scored 20 league goals for Wimbledon at this level last season, and yet he’s barely getting a kick for us.
Meanwhile, Macauley Bonne is going through a really lengthy goal drought. It must be time to get Pigott into the team, either alongside either Bonne or James Norwood, or up front on his own, although I don’t think many Town fans would vote for the latter option.
Of course, Kieran McKenna is still assessing his squad and trying to work out how to get the best out of them. Which combinations work best? Three or four at the back? One or two up front? That process will take some time.
He sprang a real surprise at Wimbledon by giving Kayden Jackson - who we all thought was on his way out of the club - a start. I don’t suppose what we got was much of a surprise. A typical Jackson performance. Quite a few promising positions, but not much end product.
So, we move on, still searching for that oh-so-elusive consistency which would transform our season. This time next week, I’m convinced I will be writing about a goal-fest against Gillingham, and looking forward to a convincing result at Doncaster.
Sadly, the enjoyment of a big win against the Gills will be slightly dampened because the arch-panto villain Steve Evans will not be in the visitors’ dug-out.
How we love our anti-heroes. Remember when Robert Fleck played for Norwich? We used to love winding him up, and it was made all the more fun because, back then, we used to win the local derbies, more often than not.
Of course, thankfully a new panto villain has emerged in the shape of Andy Holt, the Accrington chairman. Mr. Holt, you will remember, took to social media to describe our captain Sam Morsy as “a s**thouse” after a something-and-nothing clash with a Stanley player.
Cue a social media explosion which saw Mr. Holt exit Twitter and, much more significantly, a four-match ban for Morsy for what was nothing more than a little flick at his opponent.
Absolutely ridiculous, and totally unfair. All sparked, it seems, by Mr. Holt’s petulant outburst. Stay classy, Mr. Holt, stay classy. You are now safely installed as our favourite panto villain.