North Stander: Encouraging start for Ipswich Town – now please play strong team in the Cup!

Flynn Downes looked good on his debut for Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Flynn Downes looked good on his debut for Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

I drove 400 miles all the way from Cornwall to Ipswich on Saturday to watch the season’s curtain-raiser. There’s loyalty for you!

Several times during the seven-hour journey, and again when I was being drenched walking to the ground, I thought: ‘This had better be worth it.’

And you know what? It was worth the effort. I left Portman Road happy – and there weren’t many occasions last season when I was able to say that.

Ok, it certainly wasn’t a classic, but the boys battled away and thoroughly deserved the three points. There were promising signs of them trying to play a passing game on occasions, too.

All that with a number of players who you assume would be first choices either on the bench or missing altogether through injury or illness.

So, an encouraging start. Great for Joe Garner to score on his debut right in front of the Sir Bobby Stand. The way a striker starts his career at a club can make all the difference to his relationship with the fans, and it doesn’t get much better than a debut goal at home.

The big downer, of course, was the injury to Dozzell. If it’s as bad as it appears, we won’t see much of him this season. A real shame. He had settled in well, and was really getting involved. A couple of minutes before he was injured, I’d remarked to my mate that the youngster was dictating the game. He is a clearly a class act in the making.

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Flynn Downes certainly took his chance. He gets stuck in, and Town fans just love that. Given our central midfield woes at present, it looks like he’ll be an important player for us.

Now, can we keep the momentum going? Tomorrow evening at Luton in the League Cup (apologies to whoever the sponsors are this year) will be really tough, and wouldn’t it be fantastic if we fielded a strong team?

We won’t, of course, and that means we’ll probably go out to a fired-up Hatters side who scored eight on Saturday.

I’ve said it time and again, but a cup run adds colour and excitement to the season. The most memorable game at Portman Road in recent years was the semi against Arsenal.

This year, I’d settle for anything above halfway, with some entertaining football, and a decent run in either the League Cup or FA Cup. That isn’t too much to ask, surely?