MONDAY VERDICT: Invest in a bright spark or apathy will quickly grip Ipswich Town fans again

Luke Chambers and Daryl Murphy react to the latter's missed chance against Norwich City.

Luke Chambers and Daryl Murphy react to the latter's missed chance against Norwich City. - Credit: Archant

No doubt about it, Ipswich Town Football Club finds itself at a major crossroads.

Saturday’s limp 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Norwich City at Portman Road just highlighted what, deep down, we already knew.

The Championship is looking stronger than last season and the Blues squad is arguably weaker. It doesn’t take a genius, therefore, to realise that it’s going to be very hard to better last season’s ninth-place finish.

This is the club’s 13th successive campaign in the second tier and it’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day.

Up until now the Blues faithful have heaped praise on manager Mick McCarthy following his incredible turnaround. From rock-bottom and soft-centred, to rock-solid and the verge of the play-off places in just 20 months.

Pragmatic, functional, organised, hard-working and rigid football may not have been easy on the eye, but – on a miniscule budget – it was the only way to bring some much-needed stability.

And yet the question must now be asked ‘where do we go from here?’

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In order to take the next step, this Town side needs to be much more than just a spirited and physical oufit that relies heavily on set-piece goals.

Yes, this team is unlikely to get thrashed or go on a lengthy losing streak, but at the same time they’re never going to get fans off their seats and go on the sort of runs required for a genuine top six push.

McCarthy has begun clearing the decks, with Anthony Wordsworth, Paul Taylor and Jack Marriott out on loan and Frank Nouble transfer-listed.

Now, with the first team squad effectively numbering just 20, it’s imperative that owner Marcus Evans frees up some of the funds received from the sale of Aaron Cresswell this summer.

Because failure to add some invention, pace and star quality could soon see apathy grip the long-serving Blues faithful once more.

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