Three players involved on Saturday had not reached the levels of fitness attained by the rest of the Town squad in pre-season, and so a good cup run could help. The new Town manager believes that match fitness only comes from playing competitively – whether it is in the Championship, or in the cup competitions.
Although the Blues went down to a narrow defeat against Rotherham, I was quite impressed with the Town performance in general which was easy on the eye and technically very accomplished. Sadly, what was missing was a cutting edge and until we find that we will continue to struggle.
Alex Mathie pointed on Radio Suffolk’s after match programme ‘Final Whistle’ that what was most noticeable on Saturday against the Millers was a distinct lack of leadership. Yes, captain Luke Chambers will always rant and rave – even if he is personally responsible for many of the gaffs but overall the team lacked character and every successful team has a few ‘old heads’ pulling the strings in this department.
But the new kids on the block were generally pretty good. Trevoh Chalobah is a class act and I think he already looks very assured. Jon Nolan too, on his Town debut, was impressive and his silky skills will be of real benefit as the season progresses, and at the back, I saw enough of Toto Nsiala to convince me that he is the real deal and will help to improve our defence.
Then we have the exciting Gwion Edwards to entertain us up front; along with the very skilful Ellis Harrison, so there are a number of reasons why I think that when this team gels, it will surprise a few people. It will take a while before Kayden Jackson hits top form but given time I believe he will be another real asset and in order to get some of these players up to scratch, manager Paul Hurst has said he won’t be fielding a weaker team tomorrow night away to Exeter in the Carabao Cup. What an absolute delight after the Mick McCarthy era!
One player who won’t be risked however is Edwards but there could be room on the bench for Teddy Bishop and Danny Rowe, who are both coming back to full fitness finally. They won’t play from the outset but we can expect them to play some part – especially if we are struggling – which we might be.
What we all desperately want tomorrow is a win and it doesn’t really matter how we get it. Exeter have started their season with two wins from two matches so Town know they will be in for a real battle at St James Park and with no extra time in the competition this season, full time equals penalties!
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich