Fuller Flavour: Full faith in McKenna, and my player of the year vote
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
For at least the sixth year in a row, we have reached the point where we cannot wait for the season to be over.
But unlike the last five years, for me at least, it is because I am really itching to get on with the next season. Sure, when the last few seasons have reached this point, we just hoped the next one would be better, but I really believe that next term will see hopes realised.
I also want this season out of the way so that Kieran McKenna can crack on with developing his own squad. Yes, it may include the majority of the current squad, but I am confident that he will identify the areas that still need strengthening.
I have read some bizarre opinions over the last day or so. Some are already saying that McKenna isn’t the right man for the job. Only time will tell if that is the case, but at least give the bloke a decent chance.
Yet again on Saturday, we took the lead, dominated possession, but failed to kill a team off. We have lost somewhere in the region of 19 points from failing to hold a lead. It is something that we have really got to get to grips with and I have every faith that we will.
Whilst the season is just about over, I still want us to win every game. I was annoyed as much as ever when Shrewsbury equalised. But what a goal it was!
And by the way, I see some blame is being attached to Cameron Burgess’s red card. Whilst that in itself was a moment of rashness - whether there was much contact made is a different matter - it would be churlish to say that it cost us all three points.
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The goal by Shaun Whalley was just one of those strikes that no goalkeeper was going to stop, and having 11 men on the pitch instead of ten would have made no difference either.
Shrewsbury is one of those places that we never seem to do well at either. Who can forget the two FA Cup ties that we lost there in February 1982 (2-1) and in January 1984 (2-0).
Throw in a 2-1 loss there in January 1987 in our first league match at the old Gay Meadow ground in almost 30 years you’ll understand why us older Ipswich fans do not hold fond memories of visits to Salop.
My final vote for Player of the Year went to Janoi Donacien. It was a close call though between him and Wes Burns.
I’ll admit to Burns being my current favourite player. I think that when he is on his game, we are virtually unstoppable. He will be massive again for us next season. That is providing we can keep him at the club.
But I went with Janoi because he is just Mr Consistent. And it is also because of the fact that he has proved so many people wrong. He could easily have sulked and asked to leave after being sent out on loan to both Accrington Stanley and Fleetwood Town.
Those moves suggested that he was not wanted and had no future at the club. With nobody prepared to give him a fair chance, I would not have blamed him for wanting to leave.
Instead, he has kept his head down, worked hard and is an example to everyone that if you keep doing the right thing, take a chance when it comes and don’t look back.
His partnership with Burns needs to be replicated over on the left-hand side. If we get that right and find a clinical striker, then we’ll be alright - easier said than done of course.
As mentioned previously, I am currently writing a book titled ‘Town on the Telly’. I am making good progress with that as I look back on the 170 live TV games to date.
I will have another game to add to the book this weekend as we visit Rotherham for our first live league game of the season. Wouldn’t it be great to mark that game with a win and show that we can beat a promotion chasing team at their place?