Town have been shipping goals

ONLY one Championship side - rock-bottom Southend - have shipped more home goals than Ipswich this season.In eight league games at Portman Road the Town defence has been breached on 15 occasions, a sorry statistic that concerns John Wark every bit as much as it does manager Jim Magilton.

By Mel Henderson

ONLY one Championship side - rock-bottom Southend - have shipped more home goals than Ipswich this season.

In eight league games at Portman Road the Town defence has been breached on 15 occasions, a sorry statistic that concerns John Wark every bit as much as it does manager Jim Magilton.

He said: “It has to be sorted out sooner rather than later. If you are beaten by a better side, playing superior football, all you can sometimes do is take it on the chin and move on.


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“But we have been handing out gift goals on a regular basis, either through bad decision making or poor marking. The Sheffield Wednesday game was a perfect example.

“The second goal was a shocker. How else can you describe it when their player gets a straightforward, free header and doesn't even have to jump?

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“Successful teams tend to keep it tight at the back and give little away. I know it doesn't help to compare, but when I was playing in defence alongside David Linighan towards the end of my career we actually loved defending.

“We absolutely hated it when the opposition scored. Defending properly was a big part of our game plan back then, but these days it seems we have to score at least twice to win a game because we so rarely manage to keep a clean sheet.

“Ipswich will spend a large part of the week working on their defending, but a single lapse in concentration during a match can destroy all that.

Magilton was critical of his team's defending in the 2-0 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday last week, but the same problem blighted much of predecessor Joe Royle's reign.

After 17 games Town have leaked 26 goals - an identical number to the same stage last season and also in the 2003-2004 campaign.

Wark added: “From what I've seen this season there are too many basic errors being made and if it keeps happening at any club the manager is eventually going to snap, say enough's enough and react.”

Wark's hope is that Ipswich can keep what would be only their third clean sheet of the season, but he knows better than to bank on it.

He said: “I'm not convinced it will happen, but if Billy Clarke plays and torments the Norwich defence the way I know he can I still think we can win it.

“The Canaries are nothing special from what I've seen of them. I'm going for Town to earn a long overdue home win over them thanks to a 2-1 scoreline.”

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