In the unlikely event that Ipswich were to beat Oxford United by a clear six-goal margin, they would return to the top of the League One table tonight! A much more realistic scenario, however, would be a narrow Town victory, and if this would occur, the Blues would find themselves in the second automatic promotion slot, above Wycombe but behind Rotherham on goals scored.
As former Blue Mick Mills alluded to on Radio Suffolk recently, Paul Lambert should now try to stick with a winning formula and barring unforeseen injuries, this is what I am expecting to happen. The whole team played well at Portman Road on Saturday and although I still have serious doubts about the worth of Will Keane in goal, it would be foolhardy to swap and change now – especially as we have found the knack of scoring goals again at long last!
Of course Oxford United is an entirely different package from the under-performing Accrington team, and if they were to beat Town tonight they would leapfrog them into third place, so there is everything to play for this evening for both sides.
After his sides convincing victory over the men from the north-west, Lambert was optimistic about the chances of his team continuing the winning habit. “We’re three points off the top and we have a game in hand, a difficult game but we’re in a really good place. The game with Oxford’s tough – a tough tough game, but we go there with a lot of confidence.”
Alan Judge seems revitalized playing just behind the main two strikers and now he finally has a goal to his name as well! It reminds me in many ways of the role that Eric Gates used to play just behind Alan Brazil and Paul Mariner. Like Gates, Judge is not so hot when it comes to marking back and this was the case with Gates as well, but it did not stop him wading in with a fair few goals. This position allows Judge to express himself much more freely and let’s face it, he was never a winger in a month of Sundays!
My heart says a narrow win but my head says that we will do well to come away with a well-earned draw. If Lambert sticks with a similar side to the one he has selected in his last two matches, then we are always in with a reasonable shout.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich