MONDAY VERDICT: A team to be proud of – but freshening up now required following a series of stale displays
Take absolutely nothing away from what’s been achieved so far this season, but an increasingly stale looking Ipswich Town side needs freshening up in order to halt a mid-season slump.
The most hard-working and honest group of players in the Championship have simply hit a wall following the exertions put into a magnificent first half of the campaign in which they performed well above expectations.
Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Rotherham means that there has been just one win in seven games across all competitions in 2015. Only four points have been gained from a possible 15.
When Mick McCarthy’s low-budget bunch were grinding down opponents on a consistent basis to storm up the standings, it was impossible not to feel proud. Now, with several players understandably looking jaded – both physically and mentally – the lack of substance has laid bare a shortage of style.
It’s hard to argue with too much that two-times Championship title winner McCarthy has done since arriving at Portman Road. His effusive praise of struggling opposition hasn’t struck the right cord among supporters of late though.
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Neither has his stubborn decision to stick with a line-up that has for a while looked like it would benefit from a bit of rotation.
With Bournemouth, Derby, Middlesbrough, Brentford, Watford and Norwich all picking up victories at the weekend, Town are now closer to dropping out of the play-off places (four points above the seventh-place Canaries) than they are breaking into the automatic promotion spots (six points adrift).
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Something needs to change if this negative momentum is to be halted. And attack could be the best form of defence when Sheffield Wednesday visit Portman Road tomorrow night.
Starting the likes of Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears may provide the team and crowd with a much-needed spark.
– See tomorrow’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full match preview.