With a new manager at the helm can Town kick on next season and seriously threaten a return to the promised land? Well, it is probably too much ask but I do have an inkling that we could make the play-off’s because surely injuries cannot blight our prospects to the same extent they did last time around! We have lots of talented young players pushing through too and they will be all the better for another year’s apprenticeship.
It is the beginning of a fresh start for everyone and at long last, pessimism has been replaced by some large mega chunks of optimism and the feel-good factor is very much back in Town! New boss Paul Hurst has renewed our collective belief that with the right kind of stewardship, Portman Road can be rocking again and gone are the days when we go on our travels only looking for a draw!
Of course, if football was as easy to manage as I am trying to suggest then we would all be managers but it takes a certain kind of person to make things happen, and I think this time around, I am warming to this new Marcus Evans appointment.
I guess the best we could realistically hope for in season 2018-19 is a play-off place – although, for the fun of it, I have placed a bet on Ipswich to win the league at 51/1! Perhaps the key to the season ahead is how quickly Paul Hurst can turn things around? He has been known to play quite conservatively at times and rely on counter-attacking so will we see any significant change in the way we play? Well, I should hope so, as attractive free-flowing football is an intrinsic part of Marcus Evans five-point plan, and anything less would be seen as a huge disappointment.
I guess we would all love to see Hurst hit the ground running but he has a lot of work on his hands, moulding a squad of players into his own image and liking and off-loading the also-rans. The players that don’t do it for me include Grant Ward and David McGoldrick. Yes, they both have a fair amount of technical ability but are wayward with it and lack, in my view, the sharpness and decisiveness required even at this level of football. Grant started like a house on fire with that unlikely hat-trick on his debut but since then he has largely baffled to deceive and in the case of McGoldrick he has never stayed match fit long enough to make much of an impression at this level for quite some time and his decision-making often leaves a lot to be desired.
Oh well, those big decisions – along with lots of others will fall into the hands of Hurst and Doig and if we can make an early impact at the beginning of the campaign who knows where it might take us? Unlike last season, injuries should not thwart our progress.
FW – editor of Vital Ipswich