Monday verdict: Time for calm heads or we’ll talk Ipswich Town into a relegation scrap
Calm heads are required.
With the clock ticking before tomorrow night’s 11pm transfer deadline there is a sense that Ipswich Town are wary of panic buying now, only to repent at leisure. A big money striker is for life (or at least a few years), not just for a short-term fix. If it doesn’t happen, a huge outcry won’t be helpful to those pulling on the blue shirt.
Whether the media – this newspaper included – leads, reflects or exacerbates opinions is up for debate. One thing is for sure, the last thing any of us wants is to talk Town into a relegation fight.
How and why the mood has become so gloomy has been discussed to death over the last 12 months. Let’s deal with the current facts.
The Blues are an equidistant 10 points between the Championship play-off places and drop zone following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Preston. January concludes with the visit of Derby tomorrow night, then it’s Reading (h), Aston Villa (a), Brighton (a), Leeds (h) and Norwich (a) in February. All six teams are currently above Town in the table.
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If we’re not careful, pessimistic predictions could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Manager Mick McCarthy and his players, whatever you think about their decisions, words, ability or wages, are human beings. Like all of us, they will not be at their best when facing constant criticism – whether it’s fair or otherwise.
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It would be crass to tell fans to ‘get behind the boys’ at Portman Road tomorrow night. It’s up to the players to give them something to shout about. That did happen in recent home games against Bristol City and Blackburn and the crowd duly responded.
Produce 18 more whole-hearted displays like the one dished up at Deepdale on Saturday and the not-to-be-underestimated 12th man factor will return.
Teddy Bishop, David McGoldrick and Tommy Smith are on the comeback trail, while new quintet Steven Taylor, Jordan Spence, Toumani Diagouraga, Tommy Rowe and Kieffer Moore all have a point to prove. Discussions of the bigger picture can be put on hold. Now’s the time to pull together.