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Kings of Anglia Issue 8 Magazine Offer

Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: Progress for Ipswich Town, but hard to know just how much

PUBLISHED: 12:12 01 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:02 02 October 2017

There's much to ponder for Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy over the next fortnight. Photo: Steve Waller

There's much to ponder for Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy over the next fortnight. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

It’s time to pause, breath, recover, assess and analyse for Ipswich Town.

We’ve reached the second international break of the season after the usual frenetic opening two months of the Championship campaign.

Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City means the Blues have played 10, won six and lost four in the league. They’re eighth in the table with a game in hand on most. They have five more points than they did at this stage last season. This is a replica of the start made during the play-off season of 2014/15.

• Five observations from Ipswich Town’s 3-1 home defeat to Bristol City

They’re scoring more goals (it took them until mid-December to reach 20 last season), on the whole have looked more dynamic and been more entertaining, summer signings have impressed, homegrown players are getting game-time, while there are some key players to return from injury. It’s everything we realistically could have hoped for. And yet...

Four days on from that scintillating 5-2 dismantling of Sunderland on Suffolk soil came a limp showing. Luck and the referee were not on the Blues’ side, but they didn’t help themselves either. The impressive Robins, who must take credit, are now unbeaten in 11 games across all competitions. Town once again came up short against one of the division’s better sides. And that’s the worry.

All six of the teams they’ve beaten are in the bottom half. Five of them are 18th or below. Sunderland game aside, the victories have not been utterly convincing.

We won’t be able to fully judge how far Town have progressed until they’ve played everyone once.

• Mick McCarthy didn’t foresee flat display

After winning the opening five in all competitions, it’s now five losses from seven. There will undoubtedly be plenty more twists and turns to come.

The problem is, there’s a zeitgeist in place. A new generation of fans don’t remember this club in the top-flight, let alone conquering Europe. This is year 16 in the Championship. It’s been a slow and steady decline full of false dawns.

Is it harsh on Mick McCarthy and his players for every small set-back to be hyper-analysed because of that background? Yes, but that’s where we are at.

This season could still go one of two ways. Deep down there’s a nagging sense this is a mid-table outfit at best. At least the ride might be a bit more enjoyable this time around.

• Like our Facebook page for all the latest Blues news

Crime levels in Ipswich last year were higher than the likes of Cardiff, Sheffield and Derby new data has revealed.

The Met Office has issued a new weather warning for heavy rain in Suffolk and north Essex on Sunday.

A DIY SOS-style project to improve the life of a teenager with autism and epilepsy has been completed.

The former leader of Ipswich Borough Council has admitted the town failed to end exploitation, trafficking and slavery following the murder of five Ipswich women in 2006.

Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman and Ipswich-born actor Ralph Fiennes are in talks to star in a new film about Suffolk’s Sutton Hoo, it has emerged.

A mum slapped with a parking fine after being accused of “misusing” a parent bay at a Suffolk supermarket has divided opinion.

An individual can be seen trying the door handles of cars in Ipswich under the cover of darkness.

The historic Ipswich pub that once hosted Ed Sheeran have officially shut with the owners hoping that it can be re-opened.

The housing market may be showing signs of a pre-Brexit slowdown, but your home still went up in value in Suffolk more so than in Norfolk over the summer, according to the latest figures.

Storm Bronagh has headed away from our region this morning but the windy conditions are set to stay with us.

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