North Stander: Big Mick would have loved it... ‘Every point’s a prisoner!’
North Stander, TERRY HUNT, casts his eye over Town’s draw at MK Dons on Saturday, as the Blues remain unbeaten in League One
It was fitting that Mick McCarthy should pop up on Sky TV on an afternoon when his former team produced a battling, backs-to-the-wall away performance which he would have absolutely loved.
Big Mick would have been drooling about the display at MK Dons, and his post-match media conference would have been full of his favourite phrases - including, inevitably, “every point’s a prisoner” and “there’s no such thing as a bad away draw.”
For Mick, the “proper bloke” displays of Toto Nsiala, Luke Chambers and James Wilson would have been the highlight – plenty of putting their bodies on the line for their team. McCarthy was front of mind on Saturday after summarising for Sky at Norwich, where Derby’s smash and grab raid left the Canaries in the bottom half of the Championship.
Anyway, back to our team.
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It’s very difficult to assess the performance at MK Dons. Look at the league table, and you’ll see the hosts are rock bottom. So, it would be easy to interpret it as two points lost for Town. Cracks starting to show, and all that.
But there are too many unknowns to come to that conclusion.
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Will the Dons really struggle this season? On Saturday’s evidence, they looked the best side we’ve faced so far this season, although admittedly that’s not saying a great deal.
We also have to remember that, for more than 20 minutes, we were down to ten men after Flynn Downes went off injured. So, maybe it was a decent point, as McCarthy would undoubtedly have regarded it. Time will tell.
One thing which is definitely a cause for concern is the number of injuries we keep picking up. They’ll need to build an extension to the treatment room at Playford Road at this rate.
Two more injuries on Saturday, both of them worrying.
I really hope Stephen Ward isn’t out for too long. The veteran full-back has been terrific this season, and his replacement, Myles Kenlock, really isn’t good enough, as far as I’m concerned and, as I’ve said before.
Then there’s Downes. It was obvious on Saturday how much we were missing his steel in midfield. Nolan, Dozzell and Bishop will provide plenty of creativity, but they’re not what you need when you’re being overrun.
It will be a huge concern if Downes is out for any length of time, especially now that Cole Skuse is facing more surgery and another spell on the sidelines.
Last week, James Norwood was injured in training, there was more bad news about Skuse, and now we have Ward and Downes on the treatment table. Plus, of course, there’s no estimate on when we will see the superb Kane Vincent-Young again.
Is it me, or do we suffer an inordinate number of injuries?
If that is the case, why does it keep happening? Is it just bad luck? Or do we need to look at our training regime?
On a more trivial note, I was pleased to read that Freddie Sears has resigned from free-kick duties. He might have looked like Lionel Messi in training, finding the top corner on a regular basis, but in games his efforts were either floating harmlessly over the bar or slamming into the wall.
However, I was alarmed to see who he was suggesting might step into the breach. Luke Chambers? Surely that’s Freddie having a bit of fun? Chambers has many admirable qualities, but taking free-kicks just outside the opposition penalty area isn’t one of them.
The only time I recall him stepping up was a fiasco. He slipped as he kicked the ball, and it ended up almost making it into the upper tier of the North Stand. Lionel Messi it most certainly wasn’t.
Our next game is in the waste of time and energy Football League Trophy against Gillingham tomorrow night. No doubt the kids will play. I never want Ipswich to lose a game, but really we could do with getting rid of this unwanted distraction.
There’s only one priority this season - and that’s started pretty well.