Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon hopes the FA Cup can be the tonic to Town’s New Year’s hangover

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IF A play-off push is built upon solid home form, our feeble attempt has been built upon no more than sand.

Arithmetic has never been my strong point, but losing more games than you win in front of your own fans only equals one thing – a relegation battle.

Make no mistake, after conceding three goals against a Forest side who had not scored in more than 10 hours and losing our seventh home game of the season (the second highest in the division), we’re well and truly stuck in the quicksand.

Just three points from those dreaded relegation places and a run approaching which will see us take on Birmingham (a), Blackpool (h), Leeds (a) and West Ham (h), and has there ever been a more welcome time to enter the FA Cup?

Those who make the journey up to Hull on Saturday (3pm) deserve medals. But the cup distraction is very welcome and hopefully 90 minutes to imbue some belief ahead of games which will determine not only our fate, but Paul Jewell’s.

I have said now is not the time to sack Jewell but there is a lot of creaking going on around the good ship Ipswich Town under his stewardship and if we begin to look like we’re going to sink then it will be hard not to join the calls to throw him overboard.

It is currently hard to defend a manager who has bought in 13 new players and yet is banking on being able to overhaul the squad over the next month. Too many positions still look suspect while young players such as Luke Hyam continue to be ignored and over-paid ageing ‘stars’ appear to be taking one last fat pay cheque off Ipswich Town while living on former glories. Yet I think this will turn around as there is enough within the squad to get us out of this.

Our defending this season has been a comedy of errors but it is not just our defenders who have been the problem. Time and again I have stated the need to employ someone as a defensive midfield shield, yet still we don‘t use one. The formation I see us benefiting under most is a 4-2-3-1 - plenty of protection for the back four, yet perfect for a quick counter-attack.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas is the enigma in our squad, yet continue to give him a run and I believe we can finally start to see the best of him, while Andy Drury could save us a bob or two if we do likewise with him.

‘Blind panic’ is how Jewell describes what is going on at the moment, but ask any war survivors about the best way to deal with such a situation and it is simple: stay calm, and carry on.