Dave Gooderham: My Ipswich Town glass is half-empty – and here’s why
© Copyright Stephen Waller
There has been a lot written this week about whether your Ipswich Town glass is half-full or half-empty, writes Dave Gooderham.
Sitting second in League One, four points clear of third, a game in hand and only two league defeats to our name, it should be a no-brainer. So why do I have a nagging doubt? And one that I can't shift at present.
Being unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup has not helped. You can call me an old romantic who still fantasies about Ronnie Radford's rocket or Keith Houchen's header - maybe I shouldn't eulogise about Coventry right now. But I love that old competition and everything it still stands for, even when many clubs in many divisions don't appear to.
So I would have loved to have beaten Coventry on a wet and windy Tuesday night and progressed to the third round. Give me an away trip to Plymouth or Bristol, let us win that and then see what the wonders of fourth round football had in store for us.
Would such a run impact on our league form? No one knows for sure, but momentum and actually winning games can only be a good thing.
Maybe a bigger worry than actually losing to Coventry was the side Paul Lambert put out. The kids were largely put to bed as a side that made a statement took to the turf. And then proceeded to put in the worst performance of the year, according to their frustrated boss.
I'm not going to pick the bones out of Tuesday night. I can't as I was at my son's school play. But I couldn't help thinking it was glass half empty as we limply exited the FA Cup, especially considering the side we put out.
Of course, the doom and gloom were met by many others saying the league is our priority and this could be a blessing. Again, we won't know for the next few weeks. They could be right. I hope so.
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But the nagging doubt remains. Is it that our forwards have stopped firing, the injuries are creeping up, the wins have turned into draws and that Lambert loves a team rotation?
Of course, it is all of them, to certain degrees. One has to hope, and probably expect, James Norwood and Kayden Jackson to get more chances and goals if they are consistently in the team and that same level of consistency lines up behind them.
Lambert is right to point out that selections and formations don't matter a jot if the performance of individuals isn't good enough. But it is hard to argue against the growing number of fans calling on him to pick a formation and a starting XI and pretty much stick with it.
The rotation was perhaps needed when we were in three competitions. But we are one down and our league form is stuttering at best. Our last league win came 36 days ago and counting and that is nowhere near good enough for a side we all thought were too good for League One.
The problem remains what is our best team and in what formation? We could argue that all day, starting at the very back with the Tamas Holy and Will Norris debate. Surely, in that position alone, Lambert has to pick a league keeper and stick with him?
Age might be creeping up on him but Ipswich Town need Luke Chambers back and fit as quickly as possible. There is a lot to be said for leadership and a voice, both on and off the pitch, and our skipper is missed at the moment.
While the central positions look strong - Flynn Downes and probably Cole Skuse remain in pole position - the wings remain a source of worry. Alan Judge and Gwion Edwards, to name but two, should be bossing this league. But they're not.
Of course, play a 3-5-2 formation and both Judge and Edwards might be picking out splinters. The questions remain, too many questions for my liking, ahead of such a busy and crucial schedule.
"Sitting second in League One, four points clear of third, a game in hand and only two league defeats to our name."
Just breathe and keep repeating this!