Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon compares two clubs presently heading in very different directions

THERE could hardly be a bigger contrast between Ipswich and their deadly rivals up the A140 right now.

One has a manager, who since coming in to replace Bryan Gunn after inflicting the worst result in their 107-year history, can do no wrong, while the other can seemingly get nothing right.

Norwich’s Paul Lambert is currently enjoying the adulation of the City faithful after a festive season which has seen the League One champions beat leaders QPR and go third in the table.

But back at Portman Road Roy Keane waits anxiously for a call from owner Marcus Evans to see if the relegation fight he has dragged the club into after the latest home defeat (1-0 Nottingham Forrest) will be left for another man to attempt to claw their way out of.

Seven defeats in nine league games -taking into account the 1-1 draw at 10-man Coventry on New Year’s Day - and Premiership powerhouses Chelsea and Arsenal up next, means it looks like it never rains but pours at Portman Road while the sun seems to eternally shine 45 miles away at Carrow Road.

Evans needs to make up his mind quickly about his manager’s future, and go public with it, to wipe out the cloud of uncertainty currently holding back the club as we attempt to attract some decent players to Ipswich in the January window before it is too late.

The owner’s comments, relayed through Keane’s press conference last week about ‘playing it by ear’ regarding a budget doesn’t help anyone at a time when we need to be carefully planning to stop this season turning into a one-way ticket to League One (we’re now just three point above the drop zone with Scunthorpe holding a game in hand).

Personally, I have already made it clear that I think Keane has come to the end of the line. His selections appear erratic, his side lack width and creativity and two of his most expensive signings in his 20 months, Lee Martin (£1.6m four-year deal) currently playing a league below at Charlton Athletic and Tamas Priskin (£1.7m) seemingly on the verge of a second loan deal after being dumped in the reserves, have been an utter waste of the owner’s money. It is no wonder he appears reluctant to part with more.

It is clear we need experienced players with Championship know-how to get us out of this rut, but our manager only talks of a few more young loannees learning their trade due to the difficulty of attracting good players to a club with the geographical location of Ipswich. Funny this, I don’t see Paul Lambert having the same problem with another ‘football out-post’ this January...