Date: 27th December 2017 at 5:50pm
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Manager Mick McCarthy said afterwards that he was prepared to take a point after QPR were reduced to ten men.

In truth however, many of us would argue that he was happy to take a point even before a ball was kicked, by not including flair player Bersant Celina in the starting line-up – giving him just five minutes at the end to make an impact.

Celina probably did more in those closing minutes than any other player in a Town shirt on Saturday, as he narrowly missed with a cleverly placed free kick and then sped away from defenders to provide an inch perfect cross onto the head of Joe Garner, who claimed vociferously that his goal bound effort was blocked by a defender with his hand!

Why on earth did Mick McCarthy not keep Celina in the side? He was made for a game like this because he has the skills to unlock defences, and as the rest of the team huffed and puffed in vain, the feeling was that the Manchester City loanee was the key to our success and yet when he did come on, it was too little too late.

Former Town captain Mick Mills said afterwards on the ‘Final Whistle’ show on Radio Suffolk that he felt that the manager was playing too many players out of position and he highlighted Freddie Sears as an example of this.

‘I was a great fan of his when he came to the club but now he is always played out wide and he can’t play there. It is as simple as that. He cannot play wide and we put Bersant Celina on the bench. This is Bersant Celina’s stage! He loves to entertain and he loves to get the crowd behind him and home games are his strength.’

Mills also suggested that McCarthy’s judgement was found wanting. He explained, ‘ Some people call me old school but I don’t like making lots of changes in one fell swoop. I firmly believe that it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to get cohesion. To go from Tuesday to Saturday and have five team changes is beyond me! We have three days rest so I don’t understand why we do it?’

In fairness, Town actually played with four strikers but they did not play too well together and they lacked any kind of understanding, when it came to breaking the Rangers defence down.

What makes Saturday even more disappointing is that, at long last, we had a biggish crowd of almost 18,000 who had to suffer one of the most uninspiring performances from a Town side in years.

This was groundhog day all over again and the nightmares of last season resurfaced in the process with boos and jeers at the end of proceedings and calls for the manager’s head once more.

Let us hope it is not a case of back to the future because if it is, then we can expect to see even smaller attendance figures at Portman Road next year – as if, they are not already bad enough!

If there are any more home games like this, then Town should consider another ticket promotion. They could make it free entry for everyone and fifty quid if you want to get again!

Frank Weston – Editor of Vital Ipswich


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