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Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: A week which suggests Town are heading for mid-table mediocrity

PUBLISHED: 13:01 26 November 2017 | UPDATED: 23:27 26 November 2017

Dominic Iorfa reflects on his missed challenge which allowed Albert Adomah to score Aston Villa's second on Saturday. Photo: Pagepix

Dominic Iorfa reflects on his missed challenge which allowed Albert Adomah to score Aston Villa's second on Saturday. Photo: Pagepix

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It was a week of highs and lows which ultimately suggested Ipswich Town are destined for a mid-table Championship finish at best.

Ipswich Town fans at Villa Park. Photo: Pagepix Ipswich Town fans at Villa Park. Photo: Pagepix

The Blues are more than halfway through their so-called acid test of five tough fixtures in 15 gruelling days.

First, they snatched a last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Hull City. The positive – yet more comeback spirit shown. The negative – a sense of an opportunity missed given the tame Tigers were wounded early on.

OPINION: Karl Fuller – ‘The air of predictability is evident’

Then the boot was on the other foot as Town conceded a last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 midweek draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Portman Road. It had been an impressive performance against a high-flying side, but profligacy and late naïvety saw two points dropped.

The fit-again Teddy Bishop slides into a challenge on Alan Hutton at Villa Park. Picture: Pagepix The fit-again Teddy Bishop slides into a challenge on Alan Hutton at Villa Park. Picture: Pagepix

REACTION: McCarthy on ‘appalling’ defending, refereeing inconsistency and Bishop’s return

There could be no arguments following a 2-0 defeat at in-form Aston Villa on Saturday. Town gifted the hosts both goals in what is becoming a worrying recurring theme.

Were they utterly outplayed? No. It’s no coincidence that they keep coming out the wrong side of these fine margins affairs with the division’s leading sides though.

OPINION: Sears’ struggle for form continues

Emyr Huws has a flashpoint with Alan Hutton during the second half at Villa Park. Picture: Pagepix Emyr Huws has a flashpoint with Alan Hutton during the second half at Villa Park. Picture: Pagepix

Every single one of Town’s 26 points have been claimed against teams currently in the bottom half.

Mick McCarthy’s men have now claimed 14 points from their last 14 games (relegation form).

And they are yet to play four top-half sides, including potential runaway leaders Wolves.

Winning that long-awaited game-in-hand at Derby tomorrow night would close the gap to the play-off places to three, but defeat against Tom Lawrence, David Nugent and co would see it widen to nine.

OPINION: Six observations from Town’s defeat at Villa

The iPro Stadium may have been a happy hunting ground for Town in recent years (unbeaten in nine), but the Rams recorded an eye-catching 3-0 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday to make it six wins from eight.

Town punched above their weight in the early years under McCarthy’s management, underachieved in finishing 16th and are now realistically performing to the level of their budget.

REACTION: Knudsen – ‘We were not good enough’

At least it’s been more entertaining this season and should continue to be with creative midfield men Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop back from injury.

There’s enough firepower and togetherness to beat the strugglers, but too many technical and defensive limitations to mix it at the top.

Too good to go down, not good enough to go up and almost certainly set for a 17th successive season in the second-tier. That’s just where we’re at.

RATING: Andy Warren gives his player grades and so can you

How do we break such a state of inertia? That’s a discussion for owner Marcus Evans and soon to be out-of-contract McCarthy to have in the new year. Oh to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

Long-serving defender Tommy Smith admits the tears were flowing when he said goodbye to his Ipswich Town team mates having today completed his move to MLS side Colorado Rapids.

Ipswich Town remain 12th in the Championship table following Saturday’s dire 1-1 draw at lowly Bolton Wanderers.

Martyn Waghorn knows he and his team-mates must rediscover their clinical side and begin to put together winning runs if they are maintain any kind of play-off push.

Former Ipswich Town player Georges Santos joined Andy Warren for a special edition of the Kings of Anglia Podcast.

Joe Garner turned home to finish off a superb Ipswich Town move as the Blues rescued a draw at Bolton.

Town fan Karl Fuller looks back at Town’s draw at Bolton and why one of Mick McCarthy’s after-match comments was not needed

The answer to the question Mick McCarthy posed after his side’s 1-1 draw at Bolton is undoubtedly ‘no’.

Terry Hunt says a feeling of togetherness between fans and the club appears a million miles away at Portman Road right now.

Player watch: It’s fair to say Ipswich Town’s two Friday signings split opinion when they were unveiled.

Ipswich Town drew a scrappy Championship match 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers this afternoon. STUART WATSON gives his snap observations.

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