Make or break month for Blues

DECEMBER could be make-or-break for Ipswich Town. It could prove the difference between a desperate struggle against relegation, and a steady climb up the table.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

DECEMBER could be make-or-break for Ipswich Town. It could prove the difference between a desperate struggle against relegation, and a steady climb up the table.

Today's trip to Ashton Gate is the first of six games this month.

That's 18 points up for grabs, before Town take their mind off the Championship for an FA Cup jaunt to Blackpool in the new year.

Town have actually lost just two of their last 12 fixtures, which on the face of it is promotion form. But a disastrous start to the campaign, coupled with too many draws (10) has kept Roy Keane's men embedded in the bottom three. No other club has drawn more games in the Football League.

Most Read

"December is a very big month for every football club. It's certainly a big month for us. I just hope that my players stay fit," confirmed Keane.

"I hope that we have turned the corner. The signs have been there for the last few weeks.

"I don't think our performance (2-1 win at Cardiff) was great last week, but the spirit was good, as it's been the last few months.

"I think we've looked more solid at the back, and scoring two goals in a game, like at Cardiff last week, means we are always likely to win the game because we are not conceding many goals," added Keane.

Town's two new recruits, striker Stern John and coach Ian McParland, certainly enjoyed their first outings for the Suffolk club.

John led the front-line well, and is already keen to make his loan stay from Crystal Palace a permanent one in January, while ex-Notts County manager McParland has not taken long to settle at Portman Road.

"Charlie (McParland's nickname) has only been here a week, but it was his personality that attracted me to him in the first place," insisted Keane.

"The dynamics have changed in the dressing room, even as soon as last weekend, because of Charlie and Stern John's presence.

"I'm the sort of manager that lets my coaches just get on with it. And Charlie has the freedom to get on with it.

"Charlie probably thinks it's easy here. He'll be thinking that we win every week!" joked Town's boss.

Keane has been delighted with the impact of veteran front-runner John.

"I think he likes being here, because I don't know whether they're being paid at Crystal Palace. At least he's getting his wages with us," continued Keane, tongue-in-cheek. Palace's playing staff have had their lastest wages delayed by 10 days.

The Irishman added: "But of course we have to be respectful of Crystal Palace.

"We will have a look at the situation at the end of December. There are lots of games to play before than.

"Stern gives us something a little different up front. You know what you get with Stern.

"He's a big, strong lad, and he links up well with other players. He's not going to sprint behind people, but he's been here a week now and he's a good personality to have in the dressing room. I'm glad we've got him.

"There are no airs and graces about Stern. And sometimes you just need a slight change."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter