Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon looks at how Mick McCarthy can get his tractor running smoothly again
How can a tractor that is running like a well-oiled machine suddenly start spluttering and falter so suddenly?
That is the question we are left pondering after ‘the nightmare on Ewood’ (oh, is it not Hallowe’en just yet? Sorry!).
Last week in this column I made the case for it being a minor blip, that the engine would fire up again in no time and all those doubters would end up looking rather silly.
But as we go into the latest international break, like a punctuation mark that frustratingly stops a sentence in full flow, it’s my argument that appears to be resting on dodgy ground.
This isn’t a full-blown back track though, I still believe Mick McCarthy will get things going again, but it’s in the engine room that he needs to begin to start his tinkering.
The Jonathan Douglas/Cole Skuse central pairing was largely forced on him, with pre-season injuries to Luke Hyam and Teddy Bishop.
But it was the one area we needed to address that the flurry of summer signings papered over — a goalscoring midfielder.
Ex-Brentford fans’ favourite Douglas may have hit the back of the net eight times last season, but he doesn’t look the answer, leaving us unbalanced.
I’d suggest bringing in the more cultured Kevin Bru, until young Bishop is ready for a return to action.
The new wingers have been great going forward but are not offering the protection the full-backs were comfortable with last season — which is seeing Luke Chambers in particular get desperately caught out.
Reining in both, a bit, may be the answer, while a switch to a 4-2-3-1 could also do the trick and the blindingly obvious is a right-back at right back.
Mick described Saturday’s 2-0 defeat as the worst Town display of his time in charge.
Hopefully those words will hurt a proud dressing room and spur this tractor back into life come the visit of Huddersfield.