Fuller Flavour: This club needs to deliver sooner rather than later
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There can't be anyone connected to Ipswich Town in any form who isn't looking forward to the season being over.
The two games of the past week, in many ways, summed our season up. I thought that we were excellent against Wigan and really deserved to win. Our performance against Crewe was not so good and yet we got the same reward as the Wigan game.
Failing to hold onto leads has been a significant factor towards our mid-table finish. Whilst we can point to 28 points dropped from winning positions as quite damaging, lets remember that we have also gained ten from a losing position too.
Still, 18 points lost overall is exactly why we are to spend another season in league one. Clean sheets are no longer, and we are now in danger of totally book-ending our season in an unwanted way.
If, god forbid, we lose at home to Charlton on Saturday, our final six games will see us end up winless and with a haul of just three points from a possible 18. That scenario will be an exact match of the six games that opened the season.
But here is the difference for me. After a loss at home to Bolton at the end of that six-game run at the beginning of this season, Paul Cook also had 16 games prior to that with only three wins.
The team off the pitch was concerning me and I had little faith in things getting better. Kieran McKenna’s 17 games leading up to this run of six was much more encouraging. Ten wins and five draws gave us all renewed hope even when the play-offs were realistically out of reach.
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So, am I concerned with how our season is ending? Not at all. Yes, there are obvious deficiencies, but I have every faith that McKenna will iron them out and we will have the right players for the job in the building next season.
I am under no illusions that it will be easy though. It is not just new players that will make everything tickety-boo.
As stated, we need to work out how to keep a lead, starting with adding an extra goal or two. There is the mental side of the game that needs improving and being more successful with both defending and scoring at set-pieces needs some work too.
I do not doubt that the players are giving everything to see the season out with a win each game they go into. We all want to win.
You could wonder if a small percentage of intensity has left the squad. They are only human. How many of us when going on holiday put in a shift of maximum intent in the last few days leading up to our annual leave, knowing that we will soon be on our holidays?
I will quash that argument to a degree with noting that the performance against Wigan was full of intensity and it was encouraging to see us go toe-to-toe with the leaders. Was the performance at Crewe just one of those days? If so, we need less of those days next term and more of the Wigan performance.
There are foundations in place behind the scenes to attract exactly the players we need. I know we feel every summer that we can go again next season. We certainly felt that this year might be our year.
But the club will need to deliver sooner rather than later. We cannot keep having another injection of hope only for the effect to wear off well before the season ends.
I also believe that this season has been an exceptional year with so many of the teams above us averaging almost 1.8 points per game.
In any other season, we would be closer to the play-offs than this season. All ifs and buts I know.
Let us just get one more game out of the way, kiss goodbye to another underwhelming season and trust the process that on-the-field improvements will align with everything happening off the pitch.
There must be one of these seasons soon when it will all click into place, right?