It might not be what we envisaged at the start of the season but Town are in short supply of some ‘old heads’ in the ranks and two former players have lots of it.
Jonathan Walters and Gareth McAuley were well liked the first time they wore the Ipswich shirt and in a second coming, I think supporters would respond favourably too, given their wealth of experience in the top flight of English football. You may say that a combined age of 72 is a good reason to be concerned but I would argue that what Ipswich Town currently lack is a street-wise vision. These two have been around the block a few times but would bring to the squad the know-how and guile that we are lacking just now.
After Aristote Nsiala was told by the Independent Regulatory Commission that his red card against Sheffield Wednesday was upheld and that he would miss the next three matches against Norwich on Sunday and then Hull and Brentford, the need to bring in another experienced centre-back has become an absolute must.
This decision not to overturn the red card that was brandished by referee Jeremy Simpson is even more bewildering than the original judgement! I was convinced that when the panel looked more closely at the film footage of the incident, they would surely see that Nsiala made contact with the ball first and that Fernando Forestieri’s acrobatic fall did not prevent him from continuing as normal – just as soon as Nsiala was reluctantly heading for an early shower. As a Town supporter pointed out after the verdict was released, ‘ There is one rule for the big fish and another for the small fry ‘ and after this decision, we are surely in no doubt what league we find ourselves in these days.
I know that some of you may think that at 38 Gareth McAuley is way past his sell by date but his experience at this level is priceless. I can think of no better man to defend our corner against our fiercest rivals on Sunday than this man and is it any wonder that Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is thinking along the same lines.
As for striker Jonathan Walters, well it was not too long ago that he was terrorising Premier defences and at 34, he still has all the nous and ‘in your face’ attitude to ruffle a few feathers on a Sunday afternoon. It will seem like a fox got into the chicken shack if these two are involved!
The Blues must prove that in the face of adversity they can collectively become stronger and manager Paul Hurst will not need to summon up his powers of persuasion to motivate the squad this weekend. A largely partisan crowd and the inclusion of the class of 2010, could make next Monday a memorable working day for Town fans from across the globe.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich