Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon salutes the Blues’ new defensive duo

CRISIS? What crisis!? A late winner from Lee Bowyer, against his former club West Ham United on Tuesday, means it is now 10 points taken from a possible 15 since those heavy drubbings against Southampton and Peterborough.

We’re now just a solitary point off the play-off places, and the last three games, including Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough, have rekindled Blues’ fans belief this season could still produce something special.

For me, it is no surprise the last trio of results have come after Paul Jewell has stuck with unchanged starting line-ups for the first time this season.

But the stars of the show have undoubtedly been the defensive duo of Ibrahima Sonko and Danny Collins, who have played a huge part in quickly adding steel to a defence previously leaking goals at an alarming rate.

Tuesday’s shut-out against what looks the strongest squad in the league this year made it the first time we have had three back-to-back clean sheets since March 2005. And credit must go to Jewell for addressing the problems at the back.

While Michael Chopra’s barren run in front of goal continues, having not scored since the opening day at Bristol City, he continues to be getting in the right places and only some superb saves have kept him at bay in the last two games.

But there are still a few worrying signs, not least the situation with goalkeeper David Stockdale able to be recalled at 24 hours notice, leaving us with only Arran Lee-Barrett as a senior stopper.

Thankfully, the phone didn’t ring after Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer looked to be struggling with an injury from the weekend. Jewell is working hard to bring in another keeper, but to get someone of quality in to sit on the bench initially will be no easy task.

While the diamond midfield formation has helped us move up the table I still don’t see it as the long-term system to take us forward, with too much demanded from full-backs Aron Cresswell and Carlos Edwards to get forward and provide the width.

Gus Poyet’s impressive starters Brighton are the visitors to Portman Road on Saturday and home form is something we have to drastically improve if we are to be serious play-off contenders. Brighton play an attractive attacking brand of football and I feel this could suit us rather than a side who come and shut up shop.

If August was a false dawn things are certainly looking brighter after September, and perhaps October will now show our true colours.