Job done and game won

JOB done, game won and points in the bag.On the surface everyone will be happy and rightly so as Ipswich maintain their five-point lead at the top.But, at the risk of being a party-pooper, two aspects of concern came from this game.

JOB done, game won and points in the bag.

On the surface everyone will be happy and rightly so as Ipswich maintain their five-point lead at the top.

But, at the risk of being a party-pooper, two aspects of concern came from this game.

Firstly an injury to Shefki Kuqi which could keep him out for a month.


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The Finland striker powered in a glorious header from a Jim Magilton corner to give the Blues a terrific start.

But a couple of minutes before half-time an accidental collision in the centre of the pitch left Kuqi writhing in agony as a gaping wound appeared just above a knee.

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His presence was missed in the second half as Darren Bent gamely ploughed a lone furrow up front with Kevin Horlock going on instead of Dean Bowditch as the Blues went to a five-man midfield.

Royle later explained that Bowditch's 90 minutes in midweek for England, coupled with a day travelling back from Belgium, was a factor in not using him.

Unless Town get another striker in on loan to cover then Bowditch will hope to play up front alongside Bent. Although their combined pace would be frightening for defenders, they may be too similar to use all the time.

That could open the way for a Pablo Counago return and a last chance for him to show the manager he can do the work and play the sort of game the manager requires.

Whatever the case the second worrying aspect must be addressed.

How long can Town get away with playing as poorly as they have been and get the results?

Winning, no matter how, is always the most important thing when you are after titles.

But getting three points each time can mask the shortcomings.

For the second week running Town gained the points through a good goal, a fortunate goal and outstanding goal-keeping from Kelvin Davis.

We will never know how the match would have gone if Mark De Vries had not bungled on his goal-line as Darren Currie's inswinging corner bounced off the Dutchman's knee and, despite Ian Walker's best efforts, crossed the goal-line before Richard Naylor followed up.

One thing is certain, Leicester created the better chances and old boy James Scowcroft might have done better with a header when he was left unmarked at a corner.

City skipper Dion Dublin enjoyed the same luxury, but his downward header bounced to Davis.

David Connolly twice tested Davis in the early period but the Town keeper was equal to both, although he needed a helping header from Naylor to prevent De Vries following up the second.

The Town keeper made a stunning point-blank save to deny Connolly as he spread himself full-length to block the shot and the keeper also reacted quickly to deny De Vries in a one-on-one.

Davis was again the hero as he denied Connolly and Keith Gillespie late on.

Ipswich survived another City onslaught with a combination of players clearing off the line from Nikos Dabizas's downward header from a Jordan Stewart corner.

It was going to take something special to beat Davis and defender Stewart provided it.

His left-foot free kick curled into a top corner, clipping the underside of the bar in probably the only place no keeper could have reached.

That set up a nervy final eight minutes which Town survived. Like last week, it was a game that in previous years they would have lost, or at best drawn, so it shows Ipswich have come some way in knowing how to win.

At the same time, they will be looking to find their creativity, attacking flair and a way to impose their game on the opposition.

It is true that Tommy Miller and Ian Westlake had chances, and they looked dangerous on the counter but they will need to do a lot better at in-form Preston on Friday.

On a more positive note, Town still have all the omens going their way.

Going into the game against the Foxes, the Blues had exactly the same points, wins, draws and losses, as the Canaries did after the same 31 contests last season. They were both five points ahead of their nearest rivals. It was West Brom last year, Wigan this season.

Last February Norwich then drew 1-1 with West Ham, so Ipswich have edged ahead of the comparative tally.

It is worth remembering that Norwich went on to win the Division One title by a clear eight points.

But they didn't lose their talisman striker.

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