Fuller Flavour: 61 changes in nine games! Groundhog Days are back folks. Happy Christmas!
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
It’s official, Groundhog Days are back.
Just like the end of the Mick McCarthy era, all of the Paul Hurst era and now the last few weeks of the Paul Lambert era, I find that when I sit down to pen this column, I'm back to where I was a week ago, writing about the same old problems that us Ipswich fans are not only sick of but once more, feeling concerned about.
For apathy under McCarthy and rubbish under Hurst, read rotation under Lambert.
Another four changes made for Saturday's game at Portsmouth bring the total of changes in the last nine games to 61. And not only the change in personnel, but formation again.
How many of us were left screaming and pulling our hair out between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday?
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For heaven's sake Paul, select a line-up, stick with it and give our players a chance to get used to playing with one another and to gel. It's what the fans want but, as we got used to under Mick, we rarely get what we want.
I said it last week, I'll say it again, we seem to be stuck in pre-season mode where we're giving every player a run out to get their fitness levels up and a chance to prove themselves.
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Those that are proving themselves face being axed the following week and those that aren't proving themselves know they'll get another chance very soon and this leaves, in my opinion, a squad that lacks both direction and hunger.
It frustrates me so much that if so many of us can see our failings, why can't Lambert and the rest of his coaching staff?
Let's look back to the start of the season where we were not dominating games but got the results to put us in a top-two position. A time when we'd have one good half and one poor.
Who knows? If we'd stuck with the plan then, as players gelled further, we might have turned 45 good minutes into 90.
A 4-4-2 formation ground out a win at Burton on the opening day, Myles Kenlock was at left-back which meant Luke Garbutt was pushed further forward into a more threatening midfield position. We still ground out wins with them two in these positions. Janoi Donacien and Danny Rowe featured on the right. Yes, we'd all have Kane Vincent-Young at right-back when fit but in the meantime, Donacien can fill in and do a job and then two up front in Norwood and Jackson.
Other games saw the 4-4-2 formation work, I don't know why so many managers desperately try to avoid it.
I still think we have the players individually, but I just think all the chopping and changing is too detrimental to expect a cohesive performance anytime soon.
And if we think the run we're on is not good at present, it can quite easily get a whole lot worse. A big Boxing Day crowd, maybe above 20k and we all know how well things go with that kind of crowd present.
On paper, we should be beating Gillingham - our last win in any competition at Portman Road coincidentally was against The Gills and then on Saturday at Lincoln - another tough one.
Then on New Years Day, we have the reverse fixture at Wycombe live on Sky. What could possibly go wrong?
Thankfully, my Boxing Day record is not too bad as it goes.
I've seen 12 games, we've won six, drawn three and lost three.
Two years ago, we drew 0-0 in one of the dourest games ever witnessed at Portman Road and that signalled the end for many Town fans as far as McCarthy was concerned. I hope that we're not left with as many disgruntled fans on Thursday.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope Santa is extra kind this year with some big points that we really need to start bagging.