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Dave Gooderham: 25 miserable days which may have saved Town’s season

Luke Chambers relished the heavy rain at Oxford United after his rampaging performance against Accrington. Picture: PAGEPIX

Luke Chambers relished the heavy rain at Oxford United after his rampaging performance against Accrington. Picture: PAGEPIX

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In this week’s column, Dave Gooderham looks back a good few days for the Blues – and ahead to what the rest of the month may hold.

Luke Woolfenden has been the subject of much transfer speculation Photo: ROSS HALLSLuke Woolfenden has been the subject of much transfer speculation Photo: ROSS HALLS

"Due to the poor performances by our men in blue, we have allowed ourselves to focus, nay worry, about the opposition too much. 1-0 to the Ipswich Town seems like a distant memory."

What fool would write such a thing? Alas, you are reading said fool - and what a difference seven days can make! Last week, I had to apologise to the esteemed sports editor for a rather depressing 750 words.

This week, I'm all smiles after Accrington were well and truly put to the sword before we overcame the elements, officialdom and almost Oxford to earn a credible 0-0 at the Kassam.

MORE: Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 0-0 draw at Oxford United

Clearly, we are back on track and #100points100goals is back on. OK, maybe not quite, but I'm happier!

It's easy to say our upturn in form - and a first league win since the start of November - is down to some consistent selection, the right formation and players playing in their best positions. The fact that it is so easy to suggest this is possibly what made Paul Lambert a touch disgruntled in the post-Accrington euphoria.

But some tinkering on the training ground has clearly gone on. Especially, it seems, around Messrs Chambers and Woolfenden charging up the pitch like Titus Bramble in his (Ipswich) prime.

Quite likely, we may also look back on 25 miserable days as a time when our season really turned. Turfed out of the FA Cup by Coventry City and dumped out of the EFL Cup by Exeter City might actually prove to be the best thing that happened to Ipswich Town in the 2019/20 season.

It has allowed us all to refocus on what is truly important - getting out of League One at the first attempt. The obvious consequence of less games is less tinkering and this consistency looks to be paying instant dividends.

Accrington was a performance we had all been crying out for. A comprehensive win, no nerves jangled and some great goals and performances to boot. That's more like it.

New signing Josh Earl pictured before Town's 0-0 draw with Oxford United at The Kassam Stadium Photo: ROSS HALLSNew signing Josh Earl pictured before Town's 0-0 draw with Oxford United at The Kassam Stadium Photo: ROSS HALLS

A few days later, when the rain and ref took centre stage at Oxford, it was more like the 1-0 to the Ipswich. Without the one goal of course.

MORE: Ipswich's visit to Tranmere in real doubt due to condition of Prenton Park pitch... and Lambert wants an early call

But a goalless draw with a promotional rival in monsoon conditions and stop-start football shouldn't be sniffed at. Criticising officials can be a bit tiresome, but we also should have had a penalty, no question.

That said, a large part of the second half was concentrated in the Ipswich half and we defended manfully. The three at the back seems to be working for all. There are always things we can improve on, but that would be nit-picking, especially in those conditions.

Alas, the weather looks to be our biggest opponent again with the Tranmere game already in serious doubt. That would be a shame given our slight upturn in form, but it is a temporary gap from the league rather than the cup-enforced ones which have stuttered our season.

Away from the elements, January is also a time where we start thinking about incomings and exits again. It is a month where fans are hopeful and nervous in pretty much equal measure. Ipswich may have already taken care of business with a solitary signing - but a necessary one with the arrival of Josh Earl to add depth to the backline.

More focus will of course be on departures and I think most fans would happily see January race by if it meant the first team squad was left unscathed. Most eyes will be on Luke Woolfenden, with Sheffield United rumoured to be sniffing around.

MORE: 'Three million?! Absolutely no chance...' - Lambert scoffs at Woolfenden transfer report

It was heartening to hear Paul Lambert say £3 million wouldn't go close to buying the composed centre back. But every player has his price and it would be interesting, and a little worrying, to see if the Blades or anyone else comes in with a more tempting offer.

Add a million or two and loan him back to Ipswich until the end of the season, and it might be enough for owner Marcus Evans and Lambert to reluctantly agree. Let's hope not.

Paul Lambert pictured before Town's 0-0 draw with Oxford United at The Kassam Stadium Photo: ROSS HALLSPaul Lambert pictured before Town's 0-0 draw with Oxford United at The Kassam Stadium Photo: ROSS HALLS

Finally, the good news didn't just happen on the pitch over the last week. I was delighted to read Evans' commitment to improving the visual appearance of Portman Road. At a club with so much heritage and historic success, it has been a crying shame that more has not been done to celebrate this until now.

We have hope and optimism going into the future. But we should never forget our past.


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