Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon hopes for some Championship tonic against Doncaster

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IT turned out to be a case of After the Lord’s Mayor Show at Millwall’s New Den on Saturday for Paul Jewell’s first game in charge.

But even a 2-1 defeat, leaving us still perilously perched three points above the drop zone, has failed to quell the surge of optimism following his arrival.

Even the most negative of Town fans (those who delight in jamming up the local radio phone-in following a defeat but disappear after a solid win) can appreciate he had only one training session with his new squad ahead of the trip to east London - their third in six days.

Following the magnificent but draining effort against Arsene Wenger’s Gunners at Portman Road a few hours previously, a Carling Cup hangover was always likely to be on the cards.

But forget the possible 90 minutes separating us from a first appearance at the new Wembley, three points off Doncaster, fresh off a 5-0 pasting by Wolves, at home on Saturday would now be the greater tonic.

The bust-up between veteran Irishman Mark Kennedy and keeper Marton Fulop at the weekend, though disappointing to see, does demonstrate how desperate these players are to turn this season around. With the transfer window clock ticking down time is running out for players to force Jewell to trust in them for the remainder of the campaign.

With our rivals bolstering their ranks with the quality of an Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Cardiff) here, a Wayne Routledge (QPR) there or a Matty Fryatt (Hull) in the box, Town fans are glancing about the league a little nervously right now.

But Jewell will not rush into a panic-buy and his appearance at the Peterborough-Brentford game shows he is willing to try and polish a diamond out of the rough from the lower leagues.

And surely Swindown’s 21-year-old hot shot Charlie Austin (17 goals already), who this week handed in a transfer request must be on his radar? My wish-list includes a right-back, creative midfielder and pacey striker - in that order. Robert Koren and Michael Chopra anyone?

Jewell’s first signings - coach Sean McCarthy and tried-and-tested number two Chris Hutchings, could prove to be his most important.

But make no mistake, fighting to keep players such as McAuley, Delaney, Norris and Wickham will be just as pivotal as recruiting.

Looking ahead to Tuesday’s final leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at the Emirates, where there will be 9,000 Town fans roaring us on, lets just hope there is a silver lining waiting at the end of this, so far, most dreary of seasons to be in blue and white. Now someone check that bus covers the goal...