Monday verdict: Out from under the radar, the challenge now changes for the Super Blues
If Ipswich Town had been flying under anyone’s radars then their cover is well and truly blown now.
Saturday’s dramatic 1-0 win at Charlton, secured courtesy of debutant Noel Hunt’s goal, deep in stoppage-time, sparked wild scenes of celebration both on the pitch and among the 2,500 travelling fans.
It was a typically gutsy display that everyone associated with the club could be proud of.
Not only had the Blues become the first team to win at The Valley this season, but they had moved up to second in the table.
And it was all played out in front of a television audience.
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The Suffolk side were among very few pundits’ picks for the top six spots back in the summer. Now all the talk is about whether they can emulate unfancied Burnley’s automatic promotion of last season.
This low-budget, high-spirited, hard-grafting squad – whose whole is far greater than the sum of its parts – have progressed far quicker than even the biggest optimist had expected.
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This writer has labelled it Mick McCarthy’s ‘quiet revolution’ with regularity. Well it’s getting rather noisy now.
On the train home a group of Ipswich fans shared news of various other Championship results going their way.
Derby lost at Leeds, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough had been held to home draws by Millwall and Blackburn respectively, while fierce rivals Norwich had lost 2-1 at home to Reading.
There was a brief stunned silence before someone uttered: ‘What a day!’
A decade of false dawns and disappointments mean many Blues fans are having to pinch themselves at present.
There’s still a long, long way to go, of course. And now, with a target on their backs, the challenge has changed for the Blues. Getting in the top two is one thing, staying there is another.
This squad has all the attributes that are required though.
– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match comment and reaction.