North Stander: All good so far - but now the real tests start
- Credit: PA
Ipswch Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt takes a look at the win at Blackpool and the tougher road ahead in his latest North Stander column...
?The result and commanding performance as we brushed aside Blackpool really summed up what a powerful force we should be in a division which is woefully lacking in quality.
We were absolutely streets ahead of the home team, and the result was never in doubt once Luke Chambers had slammed home a wonderful opening goal.
I have to admit, when I saw our line-up, I was worried. Yet more injuries robbed us of Jon Nolan and Stephen Ward, and stand-in full-back Myles Kenlock has never impressed me. But the game really summed up the size and strength of our squad.
I was talking to a supporter of one of League One’s less illustrious teams the other day. He said; “The difference between our clubs is that you have two teams, and we can barely scrape together one!”
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That remark got me thinking, and he was spot-on. How’s this for an alternative Town team? Cornell: Vincent-Young, McGuinness, Woolfenden, Ward: Lankester, Nolan, Skuse, Sears; Norwood, Jackson.
Quite a decent League One team, don’t you think? None of those 11 players started the game at Blackpool, and I haven’t even included the likes of Armando Dobra.
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Of course, sheer numbers aren’t a guarantee of success. We saw that in the way last season fell apart. It’s up to the manager to make the best use of the squad - and, ironically, in a way that will become more challenging as players come back from injury.
But undoubtedly there are many League One clubs who will be looking at the size and quality of our squad with a great deal of envy.
We were great at Blackpool. Four really good goals, and another solid defensive performance. Man of the match was Gwion Edwards, who really is flourishing now that - at last - he is being allowed to play in his favourite position. Four goals in five games have put him at the top of the League One scoring charts.
It’s also great to see Teddy Bishop scoring regularly. His goal at Blackpool was simply terrific, showing you don’t have to burst the net to score. His twinkle toes will give defenders a load of nightmares - so long as he stays fit.
So, we’re back at the top of the pile, four wins in five games, leading scorers in the division, only two goals conceded. All good so far.
It is, of course, ridiculously early. Certainly far too soon to start getting carried away. It has to be said that all five teams we have played so far are likely to finish in the bottom half of the league.
There are much, much harder tests to come, starting with Accrington next Saturday. We will all remember that, last October, everything was going swimmingly until we came across Stanley, and hit the first of what would ultimately be lots of “bumps in the road.”
We now have a run of games against sides who look like top six contenders. How we fare against them will give us a much better idea of how good we are.
However, I do agree that we are playing so much better than we were at the same time last year. If you think about it, back then we were coming out on top in very tight games, without really stamping our authority. This time around, we are looking much more impressive. 11 goals scored, only two conceded in our first five games is a pretty powerful stat.
Talking of stats, how about this one? If we are promoted this season, 2020-21, it will continue a pattern of success. Bear with me...
Sixty years ago, in 1960-61, we won the Second Division Championship. Forty years ago, in 1980-81, we landed the UEFA Cup. Twenty years ago, in 2000-01, we finished fifth in the Premier League, against all odds. So, 20 years on, success this season is guaranteed...isn’t it?
Finally, my vote for entertainer of the day at Blackpool went to BBC Radio Lancashire’s Ian Chisnall who provided the commentary on the live streaming service.
Poor Ian didn’t have the best day, firstly getting horribly muddled over who exactly was playing in midfield for Town, and then failing to realise Gwion Edwards had scored our second goal - even though the players were celebrating. Thanks for making me smile, Ian.
So, we can allow ourselves to bask in the success at Blackpool. But we know that Accrington will be a very different, much sterner, opposition.