With just twelve games remaining in the Championship season, the only way the Blues can defy the odds is to play each match as if it were a cup final! Now the chances of success remain remote but if Town can clone their antics from their last match against Wigan, then you never really know?
Two dropped two points thanks to that sucker punch from Wigan at the end was enormously disappointing, but every manager you speak to will tell you that it is not always about results but performances when you want to gauge the potential progress of a team. The last three games have all ended in 1-1 draws and the one player who looked like he had a goal in him almost every game was Will Keane, and now sadly that hamstring injury could keep him out for a while. The Blues performance though was very good, as it has been for the last three games so it is vital Town keep believing from now to the end of the season.
Town has had horrendous luck all season and every time we show promise one of our likely goalscorer’s gets injured. From Freddie Sears to Jon Walters it has been a familiar tale of ‘ if only’s.’ Even young strikers Jack Lankester and Ben Morris fell by the wayside due to long term injuries. Now we must hope that our German loanee Collin Quaner can step up to the plate because there is no one else to fill his boots – unless of course, Simon Dawkins rekindles some form of old? We know he is technically gifted and he is at least making the bench these days, but it is a very big ask to expect him to start scoring goals on a regular basis again.
Town’s only hope is to treat every single game from now on as a cup final. In fact, in their last three matches, they have more or less played this way; with fight and determination that belied their basement position in the table. Twelve games to go. Six at home and six away and realistically we probably need eight wins and a couple of draws, which in truth is promotion form, so manager Paul Lambert knows only too well that we need our luck to change dramatically and convert those draws into victories fast. Just because it has not been done before does not mean to say it cannot happen, but the chances are infinitesimally small.
Yet, where there is a will there is a way as they say and there is little doubt that Paul Lambert is a fighter – just like his squad, and he will do everything in his power to make mission impossible possible and it could start this weekend, if we can take all three points at Portman Road against Reading on Saturday afternoon.
F.W. editor of Vital Ipswich