It will not be easy but there are lots of reasons to believe that with more than a third of the Championship season gone, Ipswich Town can still avoid relegation.
I will be absolutely frank with you and say that like many fans, I really wanted Paul Hurst to succeed as the boss, and I still point the finger of blame on an owner who knows very little about football and keeps making rather naive mistakes. Yet, what is done is done and there is no use crying over spilt beer. We must all move on and set our sights on avoiding the dreaded drop at all costs.
Now the disappointing draw at Portman Road on Saturday was only really disappointing in the sense that we could not get all three points when we were desperate for them. Certainly, the support the players got from a very vocal crowd is a good reason to feel hopeful. Suffolk folk seem to find another voice when we have our backs to the wall and in a relegation dogfight, and sadly this is where we are now. I know I have often said that connoisseurs of football don’t take a league table seriously before Christmas but our plight invokes one even now sadly.
Town have finally hit double points figures after sixteen Championship matches but we find ourselves adrift of the rest by five points which is very worrisome – even at this relatively early stage of the league campaign. What is encouraging, however, is that there are three teams on 15 points above us and another two on 16 points, so a couple of wins and suddenly we are back at the races. I also believe that under the expert guidance of Paul Lambert, we will not go on another long run without a victory. I think it will take him a couple of weeks to bed everyone in and then we will see a discernible improvement in our performances, and many more points on the board AND some vital wins in the process! I know it sounds like pie in the sky just now but I do believe the tide will turn in our favour.
With a bit of luck too, some of our best midfielders are nearing full fitness again and Teddy Bishop played 45 minutes this afternoon in an under 23 match against Cardiff City which ended 2-2 and Bishop set up one of the goals. It is of course very early days but if Emyr Huws and Teddy Bishop return to the fold after the New Year, then this would be a massive boost for all concerned. Home wins are just a matter of time too so all things considered I think we can avoid the drop.
FW – editor of Vital Ipswich