What a difference a week (and a half) makes – anything seems possible now Jonny Williams is back
What a difference a week (and a half) makes.
Following the 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough it was all doom and gloom. Ipswich Town’s best shot at promotion in a decade appeared to be slipping through their fingers.
Then came back-to-back 1-0 wins against Bolton and Watford, the Blues had moved back into the play-off places and the mood was – once again – buoyant.
If the last-gasp victory at Vicarage Road had been largely unexpected, then last night’s news that Mick McCarthy had landed Jonny Williams and Zeki Fryers on loan was an exciting bolt out of the blue.
The loan deadline day had looked all set to pass without a fuss at Portman Road. Town managing director Ian Milne was quoted in this paper just yesterday saying he was resigned to the fact that red-tape would prevent Williams returning to the club.
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And yet one final push saw the green light given just in time. The Football League were finally satisfied by a dossier of information, including Williams’ medical records, and once that happened there was only one place the talented midfielder was going to come.
Watford, Wolves and Fulham were all interested, but a big part of Williams’ heart now belongs to Ipswich Town.
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Having struggled to break into the starting line-up of his boyhood team, Crystal Palace, it was the Suffolk club who gave him the platform to display his skills at the back end of the 2013/14 campaign.
Blues fans immediately liked what they saw; an intoxicating mix of quick feet, fearless dribbling and the ability to jump back up with a smile on his face whenever frustrated opposition defenders tried to hack him out of the game. His unassuming, polite off-field demeanour made him an instant hit with team-mates and staff alike too.
Star performances against Brighton and Derby instantly made him a cult hero. His return earlier this season was heralded. The crude challenge from Watford’s Joel Ekstrand that prematurely ended that second spell just a few weeks latter was a bitter pill to swallow.
Which brings us to the next question – just how fit will he be this time around?
Williams was out for a long time with that thigh problem. He then suffered numerous injury set-backs on the road to recovery. He’s fully fit now, but match sharpness is another thing altogether.
Regardless of whether the 21-year-old is ready to hit the ground running, fellow Championship high-fliers Bournemouth visiting Portman Road next Friday, his arrival will provide a timely boost to staff, players and fans alike.
Forget the fact that his deal covers potential play-off semi-finals, but not the final itself, everyone associated with the club will once again be believing that a nervy end of season shoot-out will not be required. Automatic promotion is once again at the forefront of peoples’ minds.
Williams will add a creative spark, make-something-out-of-nothing duo Teddy Bishop and David McGoldrick are returning to fitness and recent additions Luke Varney, Richard Chaplow (both of whom extended their deals until the end of the season yesterday) and Chris Wood are beginning to make an impact.
With seven games to go, anything is possible.