Four Championship games played and only two points culled so although it is early doors, are there ominous signs out there that Ipswich Town is in free fall?
Personally, I am a little concerned but not much more than that. We all knew that with nine new players and a new managerial regime, it would take some time for things to gel and I have seen enough of the new kids on the block to be encouraged for the future of this club.
Having watched all four games so far, what I think is most striking is the difference in technical ability. The new regime not only focus on fitness but skill factors too and perhaps surprisingly, the players stepping into the shoes of the old Mick McCarthy squad have, in the main, adapted remarkably well and it proves I think that the gulf between the Championship and the leagues below, is not as great as we might have imagined. Gwon Edwards, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala and Ellis Harrison are the testimony to that!
Manager Paul Hurst said in his weekly press conference today that it is not wise to throw the baby out with the bathwater and he will persist with playing, for the moment at least, with a lone striker. He argued that panicking into changing a system, simply because we do not have enough points on the board at this early stage of the season, is not necessarily a sensible thing to do. He explained, “We all get obsessed with systems, you know I’ve done it before. Played with two strikers up front and gone through spells when you don’t score. You know, what do you do then? Chuck three on, four on … I think at the minute it is too early to start worrying about that.”
As I have said before, I have grown to like Paul Hurst a lot. I knew little of him when he took on the job, apart from his impeccable managerial credentials but there is more to the man than progressive success. He has a charming personality and is extraordinarily honest for someone who has already achieved so much. The reason for his success is perhaps a combination of the two which few top managers possess. This, however, is not in my eyes a weakness, it is a strength.
What our manager needs, and I guess we all need right now, is a victory. Two of the sides that were without one succeeded last night. One was our fiercest rivals and the other Sheffield Wednesday. Perhaps it is better they got that win under the belts before they met us! Or perhaps not? Only time will tell but one thing is sure, it will have lifted their confidence as we confront the pair of them prior to that dreaded international break.
On the injury front, Cole Skuse is battling to be fit and so too is Jon Nolan. If we lost both of them at the weekend I think we would struggle but, of course, we do have the talented Tayo Edun back and the players on the treatment table are slowly but surely returning to the fold.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich