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Northstander: Mark my words, Bersant Celina won’t start a dozen games for Ipswich Town

PUBLISHED: 09:02 20 September 2017

Ipswich Town's Bersant Celina takes a shot against Bolton on Saturday. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town's Bersant Celina takes a shot against Bolton on Saturday. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

My mates who support other teams just don’t understand. They glance at the results, and the Championship table, and send me texts saying things like: “I bet you’re thrilled with your team.”

If I reply in anything less than an ecstatic tone, they say: “You Ipswich fans are never happy. You moaned all last season when you were struggling, and you’re still moaning when you’re in the top six!”

And they’re absolutely right – in a way. If you look at the table, how can we do anything other than purr with delight? Five wins out of seven, fifth place, and top if we win our game in hand. A great start!

There’s that old saying about the league table never lying, isn’t there? Well, just this once, I think it is telling a few porkies. No way are we a top six side. We have a really tough run coming up, so let’s look at the table again in the middle of October.

I know this comes across as really miserable and ungrateful. Believe me, I’m delighted we’ve made such a great start. Of course, results are, at the end of the day, what matters most. But it’s also about performances, and entertainment, and that’s where Town are still so sadly lacking.

The first half on Saturday was, I’m afraid, a throwback to last season’s dire fare. McCarthy got his selection wrong but, to be fair, he recognised his mistake and changed it at half-time.

Why he didn’t start with Celina? I just don’t understand. Was it because he had missed training during the week with a dead leg? Or is that he’s simply not a McCarthy-type player? It was the ideal opportunity to give him a start – you could see he terrified the Bolton defenders when he was belatedly introduced. Tell you what, I bet he doesn’t start a dozen games this season. Mark my words...

The proof in the pudding is how many people are prepared to pay to watch the kind of football being served up at the moment. Saturday’s crowd saw more than half the seats in the stadium sitting empty. It was the lowest Portman Road crowd for a league game in 19 years, since a game against Swindon in October 1998.

Success will bring people back, as will entertaining football. Currently, we’ve got the former, but not the latter.

The jury is still out on this season. As I said, let’s assess things in a month’s time.

Ipswich Town take on Preston North End, at Deepdale, on Saturday in what will be their third Championship game in seven days.

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