Northstander: Faint play-off hopes still alive which is good news. But why were there no academy players in the Town starting XI on Saturday?

Ipswich celebrate the second goal at Sunderland. Picture Pagepix

Ipswich celebrate the second goal at Sunderland. Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Terry Hunt, like all Town fans, enjoyed the win at Sunderland. But asks, are the play-offs really a reality? And where are the academy players?

Joel Asoro is shadowed by Cameron Carter-Vickers at Sunderland Picture Pagepix

Joel Asoro is shadowed by Cameron Carter-Vickers at Sunderland Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

So, a much-needed and very welcome win against a shell-shocked Sunderland who look destined to play their football in the third tier next season.

It keeps our faint play-off hopes alive, and those will be further boosted if we follow this up with another victory against bottom club Burton at Portman Road on Saturday.

I say “faint hopes,” because that’s precisely what they are.

We’re eight points outside the top six, so we need to record three more wins than Fulham and Bristol City, who occupy the final play-off places at the moment.


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Three more wins than those two, in the 16 games we have left.

Let’s be honest, how likely is that?

Ipswich fans with a high view at Sunderland. There were almost 1,000 Town fans at the Stadium of Lig

Ipswich fans with a high view at Sunderland. There were almost 1,000 Town fans at the Stadium of Light. A fantastic support. Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

MORE: Mick hails Freddie Sears’ performance at Sunderland

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Still, at least it keeps it vaguely interesting for a little longer.

In reality, my thoughts are already leaping ahead to the summer. McCarthy is still stubbornly refusing to say whether he will stay or go.

For all his attributes, we need him to leave for the club to kick on.

One of the key aspects of Marcus Evans’s five-point plan for the future of Ipswich Town is to invest in the academy.

Well, take a look at Saturday’s team. There wasn’t a single academy product in the starting XI.

Mick McCarthy points the way at The Stadium of Light on Saturday Picture Pagepix

Mick McCarthy points the way at The Stadium of Light on Saturday Picture Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

For whatever reasons, our own youngsters have not prospered under McCarthy. Bryan Klug and his colleagues are producing good young players, but none have managed to establish themselves as regulars in McCarthy’s team.

A classic example is Flynn Downes, who has gone to Luton on loan to learn his trade. He produced a man-of-the-match performance on his debut on Saturday.

Shouldn’t he be learning in our team?

Surely we need a manager who shows more faith in the youngsters we are producing. Given that “growing our own” is our only hope of long-term success - unless the owner changes his spending policy - then a different manager is essential at the end of the season.

MORE: Stuart Watson’s eight observations from the 2-0 win

There’s another bonus.

Ipswich fans love seeing “our own” breaking through into the first team. It would help to mend this dreadful feeling of alienation which has developed over the last couple of seasons.

Over to you, Mr. Evans. You know it makes sense.

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