Thirteen points out of next 18 for Town!
IPSWICH Town supporters will be willing new manager Paul Jewell to extract extra class and quality from his players that his predecessor Roy Keane failed to achieve.
With the next six Championship games against lowly opposition Jewell has been given every chance to make a good early impression.
Too many times under Keane the Blues had control of matches only to end up without a victory.
This was highlighted at home to Swansea City on December 4 when the Welsh side looked a beaten outfit after Town had worn them down and taken a second half lead through Andros Townsend.
But individual errors led to a 3-1 defeat, and in the last two away league games Ipswich were in command but failed to maintain their first half levels.
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Coventry came back to draw 1-1 on New Year’s Day, and in Jewell’s first game on Saturday Millwall were second best for 35 minutes, but then ran out worthy winners.
Since beating Millwall at home on October 30, Ipswich have not once in the league outscored their opponents after the interval.
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In that time they’ve won just twice in the league and lost eight matches.
How can Town fans expect their team to fare in the crucial six league matches going up?
The EADT is predicting 13 points for the Blues out of a total of 18 on offer, which may be asking a lot.
But it has confidence that Jewell and his men have what it takes to begin a new era for Ipswich Town in a successful manner.
Saturday January 22: DONCASTER ROVERS home (15th position)
On the back of a 3-0 home defeat by Reading and Tuesday’s 5-0 FA Cup hammering at Wolverhampton Sean O’Driscoll’s side are not in the best of health.
It would appear to be an ideal time to play them with the Yorkshire-based side having lost six of their 12 away league games so far.
However, they will be guaranteed to work hard and be difficult to break down and Ipswich will have to show an improvement on recent league form when only the snowy game against Leicester City has produced a league win since the visit to Sheffield United on November 6.
Forecast – Ipswich Town 1 Doncaster Rovers 0.
Tuesday February 1: DERBY COUNTY away (14th)
When Nigel Clough’s side came to Portman Road on November 9 they went away with a far too easily achieved 2-0 victory, and put Town into fee fall at the start of their current dreadful league run.
At the time the patience shown to Clough during some tough times looked to have been worthwhile as his team was moving steadily up the table.
But since then the Rams have hit their heads against a brick wall.
Town gave one of their better displays under Keane at Pride Park towards the end of last season with Connor Wickham scoring the best senior goal of his short career.
With hopefully a few additions to the squad by then Ipswich can gain a point.
Forecast – Derby County 1 Ipswich Town 1.
Saturday February 5: SHEFFIELD UNITED home (21st)
The Blades looked bound for League One with rookie Garry Speed in charge. Now that the experienced Micky Adams has taken over as manager the Yorkshire-based side can be expected to do better.
It will be a chance for the Blues to gain their first double of the season having won 2-1 at Bramall Lane in early November when they moved up to sixth in the table and everything in the garden looked rosy.
And you would expect Ipswich to do so even though they were a dreadful second best when well beaten by the Blades on Suffolk soil in the final game of last season.
To fail to win this one would be a real blow to hopes of getting out of relegation trouble, but by then Ipswich will hopefully have gained considerably more confidence by a combination of a couple of decent performances, Jewell’s managerial skills and better tactics from the manager’s coaching team.
Forecast – Ipswich Town 3 Sheffield United 1.
Saturday February 12: BARNSLEY away (16th)
Mark Robins has achieved a great deal since taking over at Oakwell at the start of last season, but there are signs that the wheels may be coming off.
The Tykes have suffered a couple of poor results and with limited resources once they lose a bit of momentum it might be difficult to fire things up again.
But this will still be a tricky game for a Town side that has lost on three of their last four visits – twice after agonisingly conceding stoppage time goals.
Keane lost it a bit after the game last year and for the only time while in charge of Town found cause to criticise the referee, and gave short shrift to a TV reporter.
Jon Stead netted two early goals in Jim Magilton’s last campaign as manager to help the Blues to a win in 2008/09 but they may well do well to repeat that this time around.
Forecast – Barnsley 2 Ipswich Town 1.
Tuesday February 15: DONCASTER ROVERS away (15th)
Town still have painful memories of the Keepmoat when a late goal out of the blue by substitute Quinton Fortune saw the Yorkshire-based side hit back to claim a 3-3 draw.
It was hard to take as shortly before that Ipswich had let a 3-1 lead slip at Sheffield United, and they were still waiting for their first league victory under Keane.
Rovers are set to have Sunderland striker David Healy on loan for the rest of the season and the Northern Ireland international could be a thorn in the side of a club he played for in the final four months of 2009/10.
Again it will not be easy for Ipswich, but they will be due an away win by then with the new players (hopefully) having bedded in so a welcome three points is on the cards.
Forecast – Doncaster Rovers 1 Ipswich Town 2.
Saturday February 19: HULL CITY home (12th)
Ipswich will have to play better in the return fixture than they did at the KC Stadium where they hardly got the ball out of their own half in earnest.
It was a backs to the wall selection by Keane and after Jason Scotland had had a very early effort blocked a park keeper could have played in goal and kept a clean sheet.
Hull won by a rather late deflected goal, and it proved a much-needed win for Nigel Pearson’s side after a stuttering start to the season after relegation from the top flight.
Pearson has made slow progress and his team looks as though it will escape any relegation concerns and they will offer Town a stiff test.
But it’s a game Ipswich can win as they start to make Portman Road a difficult place for visiting teams to come.
Forecast – Ipswich Town 2 Hull City 0.