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Goals, entertainment, game-time for kids – Ipswich Town have ticked plenty of boxes at start of new season

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 October 2017

Joe Garner and Bersant Celina have both added some spark to Ipswich Town attack. Photo: Pagepix

Joe Garner and Bersant Celina have both added some spark to Ipswich Town attack. Photo: Pagepix

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Ipswich Town have won six and lost four of their opening 10 Championship games. STUART WATSON looks at the pros and cons of the season so far.

Martyn Waghorn has scored six goals in his first eight league appearances for Ipswich Town. Photo: Pagepix Martyn Waghorn has scored six goals in his first eight league appearances for Ipswich Town. Photo: Pagepix

Goal threat

Only Hull City (22) have scored more Championship goals than Ipswich Town (20) so far, and you have to bear in mind the Blues have played one game less than most other teams.

Summer signings Joe Garner, Martyn Waghorn and Bersant Celina have added some much needed potency to a side that averaged little more than a goal a game during a drab 2016/17 campaign. Having David McGoldrick fit and firing again has also made a huge difference.

The Blues scored four at Millwall and put five past Sunderland. Such scorelines had previously seemed unthinkable.

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has picked bolder line-ups at the start of this season. Photo: Steve Waller Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has picked bolder line-ups at the start of this season. Photo: Steve Waller

To put things into context, it took the Blues until December 17 – that’s 22 league games – to reach that tally last season. And remember four of those goals had come in the opening day 4-2 win against Barnsley. There was that horrible run of five blanks in a row during September/October.

You can’t envisage that sort of dry spell happening again. Town have failed to score just once in 17/18 (the 2-0 home defeat to Fulham). It’s meant that even when not playing great they stand a chance – as shown when they almost snatched an unlikely point at QPR.

• McCarthy: This is my best Town squad yet

Skipper Luke Chambers is enjoying being back in his favoured central defensive role. Photo: Steve Waller Skipper Luke Chambers is enjoying being back in his favoured central defensive role. Photo: Steve Waller

Balanced and bold

Mick McCarthy has picked bolder and more balanced line-ups.

There’s been less talk about how great the opposition is in the build and less evidence of matching up formations. Instead, the Blues boss and his players have spoken about ‘stamping their authority’ on matches and ‘concentrating on what we do’.

Flynn Downes challenges Barnsley's Joe Williams. The Town teenager, along with Tristan Nydam, has broken into the first team this season. Photo: Pagepix Flynn Downes challenges Barnsley's Joe Williams. The Town teenager, along with Tristan Nydam, has broken into the first team this season. Photo: Pagepix

Two proper full-backs is refreshing after years of Luke Chambers playing out of position at right-back. Tom Adeyemi and Cole Skuse looks a far more balanced midfield, while there’s still Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop to come into the equation. The shackles seem to have been loosened on whoever the front four are.

It’s brought some much-needed entertainment value back to Portman Road.

• Blues boss not reading too much into Championship table

Leaky defence

On the flip side of that, 16 goals have been conceded. Only Nottingham Forest (13th), Hull (17th) and the bottom four have let in more.

Perhaps it’s inevitable when you play more open and attractive football. Plus some of the goals shipped have been bad luck (take Bristol City’s two heavily deflected strikes). However, many have undoubtedly been avoidable.

Town backed off at QPR, one straight ball through the middle undid them at Leeds, while they conceded at a corner against Sunderland. There are further examples.

Jordan Spence has filled in admirably at the heart of an injury-hit defence, but the Blues will be better for having senior centre-backs Adam Webster and Tommy Smith fit again.

• Comment: Progress for Town, but hard to know just how much

Tougher tests ahead?

You can’t ignore where the teams Town have beaten are in the table – Millwall (14th), Barnsley (18th), Brentford (19th), Birmingham (22nd), Sunderland (23rd) and Bolton (24th). They’ve come up short against Fulham (10th), QPR (16th), Leeds (5th) and Bristol City (4th). Then again, one of their most impressive halves of football was at Elland Road.

October looks a tough month on paper, with a trip to third-place Sheffield United followed by the visit of rivals Norwich City, a side starting to find form under new German boss Daniel Farke.

Then it’s a Saturday-Tuesday away double header against Burton (21st) and Neil Warnock’s rejuvenated Cardiff (1st) respectively.

Town are finding ways to beat sides out-of-form, something they struggled to do last season. It remains to be seen if they can edge games against the leading lights. This ever-unpredictable league does look more open than ever before.

• Quiz: Can you name the Town team which secured a dramatic comeback win against Sheffield United in 2003?

Kids are alright

Andre Dozzell started the opener and impressed before a cruciate knee injury cruelly ended his season before it had even started.

Fellow academy midfield graduates Flynn Downes (18) and Tristan Nydam (17) have subsequently taken their chances with both hands, adding some youthful fearlessness and exuberance to the side.

Blues fans certainly love ‘one of our own’ and it’s great to see the Playford Road production line working again.

The youngest team in the club’s history produced a performance to be proud of at Crystal Palace in the second round of the Carabao Cup, pushing their Premier League hosts all the way in a 2-1 defeat. It’s another big tick in one of the boxes of things we all wanted to see this season.

• Like our Facebook page for all the latest Blues news

Episode One: Stuart Watson and Andy Warren discuss Ipswich Town’s draw at Hull City, hear from Mick McCarthy and Jordan Spence and make the first pitches for football’s Room 101.

Jordan Spence has been telling his Ipswich Town team-mates just how much of a threat he is in front of goal - and the defender is delighted to be proving his point on the field.

Suffolk FA Women’s Cup Second Round

Ipswich Athletic 0

Ipswich Town Ladies Development side 14

Ipswich Town Ladies Development side progressed to the next round of the Suffolk FA Cup with a massive 14-0 thumping of Suffolk league side Ipswich Athletic, writes Liam Young.

Focus on the strengths, recognise the weaknesses and enjoy the ride.

“We might not be the best, but we keep going. It’s an endearing quality we have.”

Watch match highlights of Ipswich Town’s 2-2 draw at Hull City on Saturday.

A point at Hull City should not be seen as anything other than a good result ordinarily and the fact that we gained that point with a late equaliser certainly felt better than a loss. But were they not there for the taking on the day?

It was certainly an eventful day for David McGoldrick.

Jordan Spence believes his late leveller at Hull shows the character of the Ipswich Town squad.

Ipswich Town drew 2-2 at Hull City in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON highlights the key talking points.

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