Town find themselves at the bottom of the Championship table with more than a quarter of their league fixtures completed but they do have bouncebackability, as they proved on their last away day at Swansea. Some supporters seem to have very short memories because everyone was raving about the team spirit after that fabulous result against The Swans and now suddenly it is all doom and gloom again. Yes, it is still only one win but what a good win it was!
I have said it before and I will say it again, we should only start to get worried if we find ourselves in this position at Christmas. Yes, we were woeful against Queen’s Park Rangers but there may have been mitigating circumstances for this lackluster performance.
Manager Paul Hurst does not look for excuses but I have been lead to believe that the flu bug that had taken down a number of players was still prevalent on Saturday, and this might explain why the team looked decidedly under the weather. For example, in his press conference on Thursday afternoon, Hurst said that captain Luke Chambers was a concern and he was fearful that other players might be affected later.
Now in football terms, if a player is not 100% it will undoubtedly impact upon his performance and as fitness levels have improved year on year in the Championship, a dip of any sort in terms of energy levels will give the opposition a discernible advantage. If just two, or perhaps three players, were struggling, it is little wonder that they found it so difficult to impose themselves on the game.
Hurst prides himself on maximizing the general fitness of the whole squad and of course, this bug emanated originally from the under 23 squad and probably spread quite rapidly. In the modern game, there are incredible recovery aids like creatine, which is a supplementary powder which aids tired muscles and apparently works twice as fast as conventional medicines but even pills that help to lubricate the joints won’t be of much help if you are suffering from flu-like symptoms, which apparently some of the players were.
Now I hear you saying that if this was the case why did the manager not look to postpone the match? Well, the likely explanation is that some of the players were probably in denial and after that wonderful performance against Swansea, they were all desperate to play and that is why he stuck with his winning team.
I know these are worrying times but I am convinced that on Wednesday night at Leeds, you will see a far better performance from Ipswich Town and perhaps too, another unexpected result.
Paul Hurst has not been blessed with much luck so far as the Ipswich boss but if it is true that luck evens itself out over a season, then the Blues are still due a large chunk of it, so there is no need to panic just yet.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich