Eight games left... Tipping point, basement battle and the chance to be party poopers
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 March 2019
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There are just eight games left to go in Ipswich Town's miserable season. STUART WATSON looks at what's left to decide between now and May 5.
Barring a minor miracle, Town will be relegated.
The earliest that could be confirmed would be at Bolton on April 6.
For that to happen Town would need to lose their next two and for Reading and/or Millwall to claim maximum points from their next two.
Have a look at the following and work out when you think the fat lady might sing:
Game ––––– Poss gap to safety ––––– Pts to play for
Town current ––––– 13 ––––– 24
Hull (h) ––––– 10-16 ––––– 21
Bolton (a) ––––– 7-19 ––––– 18
Brentford (a) ––––– 4-21 ––––– 15
B’ham (h) ––––– 1-24 ––––– 12
Preston (a) ––––– +2-27 ––––– 9
Swansea (h) ––––– +5-30 ––––– 6
Sheff Utd (a) ––––– +8-33 ––––– 3
Leeds (h) ––––– +11-36 ––––– 0
Town have only finished bottom twice in the club’s 82-year professional history (63/64 and 94/95).
To salvage some pride from a dreadful season, the Blues must aim to leapfrog second-bottom Bolton – and the game up there on Saturday, April 6 could go a long way to determining that.
Just three days before that clash, Bolton will go in front of the High Court again regarding a £1.2m unpaid tax bill.
The Lancashire club were recently given an extra two weeks to settle their debts and, though a takeover is reportedly close, they do face the risk of administration.
Tickets in all areas of the ground – home and away – have been priced at £5 for this basement battle. Town fans are already talking about making it an ‘inflatables day’ in the away end. The atmosphere could be interesting.
GOODBYE GRIFFIN PARK
This will, more than likely, be Town’s last ever trip to Griffin Park given the Bees will be moving to a new 17,250 capacity stadium in 2020.
The mood in the modest two-tiered away end, which is so tight to the tunnel, could be very different to Town’s last trip there. Mick McCarthy faced some unsavoury chants in that April clash and prematurely walked away from his expiring contract a few days later.
SELL SEASON TICKETS
Town will announce their season ticket prices within the next fortnight.
It’s vital the Blues keep producing some positive displays at Portman Road and further build a feeling of hope and excitement heading into League One.
There are four games left on Suffolk soil – Hull, Birmingham, Swansea and Leeds – with the first three of those opponents all stranded in mid-table.
CROWN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Voting for the Supporters’ Player of the Year will take place around the ground prior to the home game against Hull, as well as online.
It’s a hard one to call, given what sort of season it has been, but someone has got to win it.
Bartosz Bialkowski has claimed the crown for the last three years in a row. It won’t be him again.
Freddie Sears would have stood a good chance had his campaign not been cut short by injury.
Alan Judge and Teddy Bishop have shone of late, but is that enough?
There’s talk that Luke Chambers will be many peoples’ choice based on his role as captain during the most turbulent of periods.
The most consistent performer over the whole piece? That’s probably been Matthew Pennington. Though it never feels right when a loan player wins it.
BE THE PARTY POOPERS
Town put a major dent in the promotion hopes of Derby, West Brom, Bristol City and Nottingham Forest in recent weeks by claiming fully deserved 1-1 draws.
And there are further opportunities to have a big say in things at the top end of the table.
Preston, remarkably, are in the top-six mix. They were in the thick of the relegation battle when Paul Lambert took over at Town in late October, but a 12-game unbeaten run has them only outside the play-offs by virtue of goal difference.
Town head to Deepdale on Good Friday.
And then the season ends with games against automatic promotion hopefuls Sheffield United (a) and Leeds (h).
Will league-leaders Norwich be home and hosed by then? If not, they might just be hoping the Blues – whose fate will almost certainly be sealed by then – do them a favour...