Dave Gooderham: Nagging doubts... But should we worry? Look at the table!
- Credit: Archant
It’s been five days of cup football for Town. DAVE GOODERHAM asks what do Town fans make of it all? Should we have any worries?
So what do we make of the last five days of cup football?
An unwanted FA Cup replay, Paul Lambert's controversial team selection (more of that in a minute) and a defeat to neighbours Colchester United including a debate over a goal of the season or a fluke clearance - the latter for me.
Some of these are barely sub plots in a season that remains firmly on course, in the league at least. But while we shouldn't worry when the League 1 table looks so rosy, football fans, by nature, always have nagging doubts. So here goes...
As a fan of a team sitting at the top of the table - I will never tire of saying that - my biggest concern is actually the stop-start nature of this season. I don't blame Paul Lambert for wanting to postpone games at any opportunity, especially when you would be without the likes of Flynn Downes. It also gives those in the treatment table more time to be, well, treated. Kane Vincent-Young is a case in point.
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But the lack of Saturday afternoon entertainment isn't just a problem for football fans starved of their fix (though I would like to point to the many non-league clubs in our area as a more than adequate alternative). The postponements and cup squads are surely hampering any real momentum within the first team squad.
That might not seem the case when you look at the league table, but it's not exactly like we are playing teams off the park. Does that matter? Probably not, for most, especially when we are winning. But performances would certainly be scrutinised a whole lot harder if those narrow 1-0 wins suddenly become draws or worse.
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Then we have the ill-fated 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln City. Among my other EADT columnists, I usually appear last on the weekly list when it comes to publication on the website or in print. This means many of the choice opinions have already been voiced. Last Saturday is one such case.
Did Paul Lambert really have to make so many changes? No, not for me. Could he have blended a better side by introducing new faces alongside a few who have played the majority of games? Absolutely.
Does it matter that Ipswich Town didn't make it on their own into the second round but instead had an 'Or' after their name in the draw? For many, probably not. But in a season that is promising so much, how nice would it be to actually taste a cup victory - and while we are at it, success in a televised game as well.
There are a number of questions, too many for me. Lambert is paid to get Ipswich promoted and if that comes at the expense of the most famous club competition in the world, I get that. Doesn't mean I have to like it though.
Then came the EFL trophy. Now this was a good chance to introduce some youngsters and it is great to see the likes of Brett McGavin and Ben Folami get some deserved praise after decent performances on Tuesday night. And while I'm not going to sit here and say I had heard of 16 year olds Tawanda Chirewa and Liam Gibbs, they will forever remember the match - even though it won't live long in the memory of the 2,500 diehard Town fans who attended.
Having just read a piece about how former Town favourite Jimmy Bullard is one of a handful to have earned the unwanted tag of an England squad member but with no full cap to his name, let's give a lot of credit to Lambert for throwing the teenagers in for the first time. It was the perfect game to do so.
Where does the cup events of the last few days leave Ipswich? Probably, exactly in the same position as before FA Cup Round One. They are still the league team to beat, the scalp to be had, still flying high on confidence and still searching for a bit more in terms of performance from first minute to last.
Only once Blackpool and Wycombe come calling at the end of the month will we begin to know whether a stop-start League 1 campaign will have any lasting problems. Roll on Saturday 23rd November, I say.