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Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon says ‘back to basics gives us a fighting chance’

It was like turning the clock back at Vicarage Road.

But instead of a repeat display of a year ago, which saw our play-off hopes go up in smoke, half that distance back saw our top six challenge re-ignite.

The charitable defence had been replaced by the rock-solid backline which has always given me belief we can pick the pockets of the best sides in the league.

Moments like Noel Hunt’s late scoring cameo at Charlton are not quite as rare as the moon passing over the sun, but they don’t come round often.

So for 2,177 bouncing with joy like they did at the Valley in late November, when Richard Chaplow coolly converted a 95th minute winner (also for his first), had an element of wonderful déjà vu about it.

If we do maintain sixth place, or even climb to fifth now, those are two of the days we will pin-point as pivotal to getting us over the line.

And if we run as tight a ship in the tense play-off games themselves, we have every chance.

The return to a 4-3-3, the set-up which gave us the springboard for one defeat in 21 after the first instalment of the derby, was long overdue.

In a 4-4-2 we had looked stale and sides seemed to have worked us out.

Luke Varney hasn’t been welcomed with the most open arms from what I’ve heard, but he is starting to show why Mick McCarthy brought him to the club; decent with the ball at his feet and runs the channels well.

Chris Wood’s general play is improving the more match fit he gets and he is one I am happy to see get a run out during the international break.

Minor injuries to Kevin Bru and Teddy Bishop, and Tommy Smith’s omission, should work in our favour ahead of a tough run-in.

* Kieron Dyer contacted a local newspaper this week to express his concern at the negativity from the media and fans of late. But with having to witness a golden opportunity almost blown apart with the same players who got us there, what did he expect?

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