Town must up the festive ante

Jingle bells, jingle bells, Jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to see Ipswich win away! Chances are, if that song is heard across the Walkers Stadium or Ricoh Arena this festive season then Ipswich Town will be well on their way to their best Christmas period in years.

By Stuart Watson

Jingle bells, jingle bells,

Jingle all the way.

Oh what fun it is to see

Ipswich win away!

Chances are, if that song is heard across the Walkers Stadium or Ricoh Arena this festive season then Ipswich Town will be well on their way to their best Christmas period in years.

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And, if Ipswich are to finish in the play-off positions this season, it is likely that that scenario will have to unfold.

Town have not taken more than half of the points available from the four Christmas games since the 2001/02 season.

In three of the last five seasons Ipswich have taken six points from the available 12 over Christmas, while in 2003/04 they took just three from three matches and in the 2005/06 season they took four from four.

If this average of a win every other game was translated to the whole season, a Championship club would end up on 69 points - six points adrift of what was required to finish in the play-off positions last season.

With Town in fine home form at present (14 wins and one draw from their last 15 matches), Town fans will be hoping for more of the same at Portman Road when they host Burnley on Saturday and West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Day.

However, with Ipswich without an away win since last season, it is the trips to Leicester and Coventry sandwiched between those two home games that could prove crucial if Ipswich are to take more than six points and cement a play-off position.

Another statistic Ipswich will be hoping to change in the New Year is their habit of recording fewer than half of their points total for the entire season in the second half of the fixture list.

In the past seven seasons, Ipswich have always picked up more points before January 2 than after it, the only exception to this rule being the 2001/02 when a brave effort in the second half of the season was still not enough to save them from relegation.

COMING UP IN SATURDAY'S EADT: Heaven and Hell . . .

Some Town Christmas Crackers

. . . and a few turkeys!

Town's Festive Record (Since 2000/01)

P W D L F A Pts

27 12 3 12 39 40 39

2000-01

Manchester Utd (A) 0-2

Chelsea (H) 2-2

Tottenham (H) 3-0

Sunderland (A) 1-4

2001-02

Tottenham (A) 2-1

Leicester (H) 2-0

Sunderland (H) 5-0

Charlton (A) 2-3

2002/03

Portsmouth (A) 1-1

Leicester (A) 1-2

Walsall (H) 3-2

Millwall (H) 4-1

2003/04

Norwich (H) 0-2

West Ham (A) 2-1

Crystal Palace (H) 1-3

2004/05

Millwall (A) 1-3

Stoke (H) 1-0

West Ham (H) 0-2

Plymouth (A) 2-1

2005/06

Crystal Palace (H) 0-2

Hull City (A) 0-2

Luton (H) 1-0

Stoke City (A) 2-2

2006/07

Stoke City (H) 0-1

Coventry (A) 2-1

WBA (A) 0-2

Birmingham (H) 1-0

Ipswich's points total before and after January 2

Year A B C

2000/01 37 66 56%

2001/02 17 36 47%

2002/03 36 70 51%

2003/04 42 73 58%

2004/05 52 85 61%

2005/06 32 56 57%

2006/07 35 62 56%

A = Points before Jan 2

B = End of season points

C = % of points in first half of the season

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