Date: 26th January 2016 at 4:12pm
Written by:

Before the start of the season we were all in a buoyant mood. Our attack looked awesome and full of promise but then we overlooked our defence. A defence that has leaked far too many bad goals.

We have now conceded 35 goals in 28 games and that is just 2 goals less than we have scored!

Now I am not trying to suggest that our defence is entirely to blame for all our disappointing results to date but some of the defending this season has been quite frankly frightful.

Whenever a side attacks us we constantly struggle to clear our lines and what is perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that Mick McCarthy knows defending better than most, as he was a centre half throughout his playing career so we must ask the question, where is it all going so badly wrong?

Strangely, when he took on the job three years ago, Mick McCarthy addressed our defensive frailties straight away and this was one of the main reasons why we avoided the drop.

I find it hard to believe that the reason we are in defensive decline is because we lost Tyrone Mings to Bournemouth. Losing the versatile Jonathan Parr might be considered to be an even greater loss but then again, the manager generally choose not to play him.

Mick McCarthy rarely points the finger at his defence when we lose games and instead highlights all those to wonder strikes and bad luck as the main causes of our demise.

I am still not convinced about playing Luke Chambers as a wing back because even McCarthy knows it is not his favoured position.

He looks cumbersome on the ball at times, which is forgivable as a centre back but not as a wing back; where speed and agility and tackling ability are the natural hallmarks.

At best, Luke Chambers possesses one of those qualities because we all know he is a fierce tackler and is accustomed to clearing the ball into the stands when necessary. That has not changed!

I am still of the view that although Dean Gerken has not made many major gaffs of late there is always one waiting to happen and the defence always seems more jittery to me when he is behind them.

Jonas Knudsen is a bit of an enigma. He is young and still learning his trade but rather slowly it seems, as he makes the same sort of mistakes week in and week out and his long throws have been a bit of an anti-climax to put it mildly.

Christophe Berra had an indifferent start to the new campaign but like a good wine has improved with time and Tommy Smith is a no- nonsense centre-half who is also a bit accident prone at times.

Perhaps we should look a little further up the field to see why the Town defence is letting in so many.

Our midfield lacks creativity and goals and this will always put more pressure on your defence.

Kevin Bru is a delight to watch when he is fit but Cole Skuse, Jonathan Douglas and Luke Hyam are players with few frills and they seem to know how to execute their defensive midfield duties much more than their attacking ones. That said Jonathan Douglas has proved he has a goal in him when he is pushed further forward.

They are all naturally hard working but do not create enough for the forwards in my view and the absence of Teddy Bishop this season has been a real blow.

Here is a player with midfield imagination and no little skill and without him, our midfield seems decidedly rudderless for the most part – and this is especially apparent when Kevin Bru is missing.

Our attack remains our brightest hope – even without long term absentee David McGoldrick but as CMC suggested in his blog of yesterday, McCarthy should not be content with what he has got because what he has got is not a lot if we are brutally frank.

We have lost Jonathan Parr and now Tommy Oar and our second string proved twice in a week just how out of depth the rest of the squad is and if we get a few injuries or more suspensions we will be in dire straights without some adequate re-enforcement’s.

There is still time. The window is still open. So now is the time to strengthen again before it is too late – otherwise we can wave goodbye to those potential play-off places.


Frank Weston – editor of Vital Ipswich

 

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