Just a thought... Are Ipswich Town more effective without Cole Skuse?... Discuss!

Joe Garner gets crowded out by Preston players as they wait for a high ball to come down in the firs

Joe Garner gets crowded out by Preston players as they wait for a high ball to come down in the first half of the Ipswich Town v Preston North End game on Saturday. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Northstander Terry Hunt reflects on Ipswich Town’s 3-0 win over Preston

Whisper this if Mick McCarthy is within earshot, but...do Ipswich Town play better without Cole Skuse in the team?

It certainly appeared that way on Saturday.

Or was it merely a coincidence that, once Skuse had gone off injured, Ipswich suddenly looked much more positive and attack-minded?

I know Skuse has been a great servant of the club, gets through huge amounts of unsung work, and by all accounts is a very nice man.

But the question remains – are we a better team without him?

Skusey’s got his leg in a brace’ – McCarthy on injury

There is supporting evidence from last season as well.

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Three of the games Skuse missed through injury were the win at Villa, the highly creditable draw at Brighton as they headed to the Premier League, and the 3-0 home win over Wigan.

McCarthy will dismiss all this as utter nonsense, of course.

As long as Skuse is fit, the manager will pick him. The same goes for Luke Chambers.

• FLASHBACK: McCarthy refuses to entertain ‘pub chat’ about Skuse (April 2017)

For me, there are many times when Skuse does an invaluable job for the team.

I’ve lost count of the number of times his closing down has saved us from perilous situations.

But there are also occasions when his defensive instincts slow down promising attacks.

On Saturday, in his absence, we were more fluid and our attacks built much more quickly.

• Celina in ‘a happy place’ at Town

I rest my case - not that the man who picks the team will take a blind bit of notice!

Saturday reminded us, yet again, the fine margins which operate in football.

When we won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area just before half-time, we expected Bersant Celina to take it. After all, he scored the last minute winner from a similar position at Burton.

But surprisingly, Martin Waghorn took charge.

• THE VERDICT: Is the best still yet to come from Ipswich Town this season?

If he had blazed over the bar, or slammed it into the wall, there would have been a chorus of boos at half-time. Who knows what would have happened in the second-half?

But Waghorn scored, and suddenly everything in the garden was rosy.

As I said, fine margins...

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