Comment: International break has come at the perfect time for Ipswich Town

Mick McCarthy and assistant manager Terry Connor

Mick McCarthy and assistant manager Terry Connor

The international break can often be a hindrance to clubs, the pause in the season breaking momentum, while key players can return injured.

In Ipswich Town’s case, the break has come at the perfect juncture, following Saturday’s disappointing 3-2 home reverse to Brighton who, as a result, replaced the Blues at the Championship’s summit.

Granted, the Seagulls have played the same seven games in 21 days, since the season started and Mick McCarthy emphasised that point post-game.

Physical fitness isn’t an issue, the squad are being perfectly guided by Andy Liddell but, after a rollercoaster 21 days, the simple fact was Brighton were very impressive and Ipswich, for the majority, were not.

Having started the season well, too many players were not at the races. Let’s hope it was just a blip. After all, there have not been many bad days under McCarthy.

Usually, when Cole Skuse has an off-day, so do the Blues and he wasn’t his normal influential self, along with Jonathan Douglas, losing the midfield battle to Dale Stephens and Beram Kayal, whose side must also take enormous credit for their attacking display.

Town’s back-four, having defended indifferently since the start of the season, missed the powerful Christophe Berra and struggled against Albion’s pace and power, goalscorers Kazenga LuaLua and Tomer Hemed, their two main architects.

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Further forward, wingers Ryan Fraser, in the first half, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was withdrawn at half-time, struggled to make an impact, and only goalscorers Freddie Sears and David McGoldrick came out of the game with any real credit.

The next 10 days, therefore, offer Town a chance to recharge their batteries, ahead of the game at Reading a week on Friday.

Berra, who is out for a month, should only be a week or so away from fitness when play resumes, while Daryl Murphy (calf), having been withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad, will also be on his way back.

McGoldrick (groin) and Tommy Smith, meanwhile, have been omitted from Ireland and New Zealand’s squads respectively, while Teddy Bishop, Kevin Bru and Jonathan Parr should be nearing full fitness after injury.

The break also gives Town the chance to review the many positives of the last month, while integrating new faces Piotr Malarcyzk and Tommy Oar into the group.

Ipswich’s defence must improve, but with Town having scored twice in every league game so far, it’s far from doom and gloom.

There’s no reason then why the Blues shouldn’t go to Berkshire brimming with confidence and return to winning ways.

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