The Opposition View: Ipswich

Well that came around quickly! Not much more than a month on from the first ever meeting between the sides at Portman Road, it’s Blues v Blues at Adams Park – in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Rich Woodward from the Blue Monday Podcast ponders Ipswich’s recent slide and what might be next for one of the division’s fallen giants.

Since we last met only five weeks ago, you’ve been in a bit of a rut. What do you put that down to and what needs to change? Our autumn schedule containing multiple international postponements, four FA Cup matches and three Trophy fixtures has really sapped the momentum from our league form. Additionally, Paul Lambert’s constant tactical tinkering and squad rotation has really unsettled things. He really needs to establish a simple system to bring out the best in our squad (an increasing number of our supporters don’t believe he can do this) and stick with a consistent selection to get things back on track.

What do you think Lambert will have learnt from the reverse fixture and how might he set up differently for this one? Things are in such a desperate state for us after Sunday’s 5-3 defeat away to Lincoln that I think our selection will be more about us scrabbling around to find a system and starting eleven that clicks, rather than setting up to combat Wycombe. That’s not to sound arrogant – in fact it’s the opposite. We’re tactically a mess right now. It’s a great time for you to play us!

With the transfer window about to open, what are your main needs? Equally, do you expect anyone to leave? Some of our supporters (and maybe the club management) have been guilty of overstating the quality of this squad. It’s bloated with very few players who are match-winners. I’d therefore expect more outs than ins.

It’s likely a couple of fringe players will be moved on for minimal fees and a few youngsters loaned out. Otherwise we desperately need new wide options at both ends of the pitch. We could also do with someone in the ‘Akinfenwa mould’ given we’ve resorted to going more direct of late (not playing to any of our three existing front men’s strengths in the process).

Of course, we’ve only just passed the halfway point of the season, but how do you see things panning out for Town? I may have mentioned last time that I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy. I half-joked to friends that after Christmas/New Year, we’d be out of the play-off places – and that is a strong possibility now after no league win since early November. I would take play-offs right now but fear that the compressed nature of the top half of League One and our own lousy form may see us end up just outside at this rate.

Finally, how do you see this game going? Score prediction welcome! Just before Christmas, I would have absolutely predicted a resounding Wycombe win. Your own mini downturn in form perhaps gives me slight hope, but then I remember this match is live on Sky. We are shocking when televised. I therefore predict a 2-1 Wycombe win and more pressure heaped on Paul Lambert. It would nice to be able to start the new decade in a positive fashion, given this last one has probably been amongst the worst in our entire history! Thats just not the ‘Ipswich way’ though!

Header image by Dan Clark
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