They think it's all over... it very nearly is for Ipswich Town
- Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c
Ipswich Town are in League One action away at already-relegated Swindon Town this afternoon. Andy Warren looks ahead to the game.
They think it's all over
It really could be now, with Ipswich seven points from sixth place with three games left to play. Most sides around them only have two matches remaining.
Defeat at Swindon this afternoon will end any lingering Ipswich Town play-off hopes, while a draw would almost certainly not be enough to stay in the game either, depending on results elsewhere.
Furthermore, even a win at the County Ground might not take the play-off ‘chase’ into the final week of the season, should Blackpool and Portsmouth pick up positive results this weekend.
In summary, I think we’ve all known for a few weeks now that this group of players, playing under Paul Cook, weren’t going to take Ipswich Town into the end-of-season shootout.
But it could all be confirmed by 5pm today.
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It is all over
Standing in Town’s way this afternoon is a Swindon Town side already relegated from League One.
The Robins came up from League Two as champions last summer, following a superb season under former Town loanee Richie Wellens, but a lack of investment, the departure of key players Eoin Doyle, Keshi Anderson and Jerry Yates and the eventual loss of Wellens to Salford have all combined during a season which had ended in disaster.
The club’s ownership has been a controversial topic for the best part of the decade, with current incumbent Lee Power recently charged by the FA regarding a series of rule breaches and the Wiltshire side said to be up for sale once again.
John Sheridan replaced Wellens as manager but, following a disastrous reign, has already fallen on his sword. His old assistant, Tommy Wright, is in charge until the end of the season.
But despite all that turmoil, they did win 3-2 at Portman Road earlier this season, courtesy of a truly stunning strike from youngster Scott Twine and an excellent display on the wing from Diallang Jaiyesimi. The latter’s now at Charlton, though.
Swindon were battered 5-0 by MK Dons last weekend, with Will Grigg truly on fire as he scored four. That Swindon side included former Town striker Brett Pitman.
Please let it be over
One thing that does need to end this weekend is Ipswich Town’s goal drought.
It currently spans six complete matches and more than 10 hours of action, if you take into account the 79 minutes still on the clock after Alan Judge (remember him?) had netted the Blues’ second against Bristol Rovers. That was the only goal scored by an Ipswich player in the month of April.
Swindon have conceded a league-high 84 goals this season so surely Cook’s men can manage one this afternoon?
If they do, the Town boss has vowed to run a lap of the County Ground with his top off.
If they don’t, and if Northampton and Bristol Rovers score more than one in their games this afternoon, Town will become League One’s lowest scorers on the season.
Wouldn’t that be a sad indictment of the season.
History is kind on Ipswich Town when it comes to games at the County Ground.
They’re unbeaten on their last seven visits, going back to 1990, with the Blues averaging four goals a game in each of their last four visits to Wiltshire.
That level of scoring prowess would be a welcome surprise, though it will ultimately matter little.
Cook’s made it clear on several occasions he neither likes or trusts this Ipswich Town squad, while also suggesting the players probably feel the same way about him.
So, for that reason, it’s not a huge stretch to suggest Cook would rather not select a side for this game.
He has to, though, with the Town boss insisting he won’t be ‘throwing in the kids’ and will instead pick from the senior players who have featured under him to date.
James Norwood is back from hamstring trouble and will almost certainly start, increasing Town’s chances of scoring a goal, while Josh Harrop is back from suspension. There seems little point in throwing him in, though.
One man surely deserving of a start is Armando Dobra, who came off the bench and offered a spark in an otherwise drab draw with Wimbledon last weekend.
He’s overdue a start, with Keanen Bennetts surely dropping out following a series of lacklustre performances from the wing.
Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see whether veteran duo Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse return to the line-up at a time when they could potentially be about to start their final week as Ipswich Town players.
How that scenario plays out remains to be seen.