Monday verdict: Hungry cast-offs again proving shrewd business
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Hands up who wasn’t expecting that?
Not Ipswich Town condemning Nottingham Forest to their fourth straight defeat courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline, but the nature of the performance.
Whether physical front man Daryl Murphy being unavailable through injury or last week’s debate about ‘entertainment value’ at Portman Road were contributing factors to a drastic change in playing style it is unclear, but it was like watching a completely different Town side on Saturday. In fact, it was like watching a completely different sport at times.
The ball was on the ground a lot more than it was in the air. And who would have thought the biggest contributing factor would be makeshift midfielder Kevin Foley? The 31-year-old right-back absolutely bossed the game. How refreshing it was to see someone in a blue shirt constantly demanding the ball off the defenders and not allowing them to pump aimless balls forwards.
Fulham loanee Ben Pringle was once again in the right place at the right time to net the only goal of the game for the second weekend running.
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Many had written Town’s top-six hopes off following a dismal start to 2016. We should have learnt by now never to underestimate Mick McCarthy’s men when it comes to being able to sail through a storm at sea. All of a sudden, the gap to the play-off places has been reduced to just a single point with 12 games to go.
Another thing we should have learnt by now is to trust in McCarthy’s recruitment. Many raised eyebrows when the likes of Luke Varney and Noel Hunt were recruited last season. Why did Ipswich want other clubs’ cast-offs? Experienced players with a point to prove have, more often than not, proved priceless assets though.
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And so, after all of the complaints that Town didn’t show enough ambition during the January transfer window, two mid-season recruits are having an impact equal to that of any multi-million pound addition.
Foley, the ex-Wolves man who hadn’t played since being released by Danish side FC Copenhagen last summer, and Pringle, the left-sided midfielder who had dropped down the pecking order at Championship rivals Fulham, have provided a timely boost.
Saturday could have been different. For all their patient build-up and neat spells of possession, Town could and probably should have been punished. Forest had four golden chances to score in the first half.
There’s no doubting that Town deserve some luck though. They’ve lost fine margin affairs, they’ve seen numerous key men sidelined, but they’ve kept on plugging away.
– ‘One-nil! Same scoreline, different approach’ – Read Stuart Watson’s match analysis in today’s EADT and Ipswich Star. Team news ahead of tomorrow night’s game at Bolton to appear online later this morning.