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Ipswich Town fan Zach Ward says: Leeds was dire — but Brighton draw gives me hope

By Mike Scialom

Ipswich Town fan Zach Ward
Ipswich Town fan Zach Ward

Leeds on Saturday was our worst performance of the season. It was like the second half display in the 2-0 defeat at Brentford back in August, painfully and excruciatingly drawn out to 90, incredibly frustrating and disappointing minutes.

Brett Pitman and then Leon Best were isolated up front on their own, we didn’t win enough second balls, and we invited far too much pressure onto ourselves, sitting too deep, and aimlessly kicking it up the field.

Town boss Mick McCarthy
Town boss Mick McCarthy

The long ball tactic is a genuine one — and, over time, some teams have used it to great effect.

But there is a big difference between that, and simply just launching it up the pitch for our midfielders and forwards to chase lost causes.

And if things couldn’t have got much worse on the day — we had one shot on target, and that was being generous — we lost Adam Webster and Pitman to injury.

And I think that is why Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw at home to Brighton gave me some degree of hope. I think it was clear there was a change in approach.

It’s time to get Teddy Bishop in there to be that creative link

We were attempting to keep the ball to feet, players like Christophe Berra were trying to take a touch, rather than clear everything first time, and Bartosz Białkowski looked to play more, too.

Other positives include Josh Emmanuel’s excellent performance at right back, and another clean sheet — that’s five in our last eight league games.

It is true we did not create a huge amount, and, at times, we could have moved the ball quicker. The goal drought remains a concern. But the shift in style was encouraging to see.

I don’t think Brighton played too well — but this was a team third in the league, coming off the back of three wins on the spin, who had kept clean sheets in those victories.

I’m not suggesting for one second we are the finished article. My gripe is that we didn’t start trying this in the very first game in the post Daryl Murphy-era.

And if it is to be more effective, the Cole Skuse/Jonathan Douglas central midfield partnership needs to be broken up, especially at home. Douglas has actually been fairly decent in our past few games but, when we do have the ball, he does not affect the game enough.

It’s time to get Teddy Bishop in there to be that creative spark. That, coupled with some more urgency, and I’m sure performances will improve, and be more easy on the eye.

The attendance on Tuesday, 15,228, suggests that fans are voting with their feet with the current regime.

And looking at social media this week, it does feel that the pendulum has swung somewhat — more fans want Mick McCarthy gone perhaps now than ever before. Ten wins in 2016 doesn’t make great reading.

To see some people seemingly falling out of love with the game and the club is soul destroying to see, too.

But my backing of Mick comes more from a moral viewpoint, I think.

Does our best manager in a decade deserve a chance to turn a sticky patch around?

Yes, I think so.

Is there life at Ipswich Town after McCarthy resigns or is sacked? Of course there is. No one person is ever bigger than the club.

Is ‘Big Mick’ ‘unsackable’? I think he has done a brilliant job, turning us from relegation fodder to play-off challengers but, if you look through the history of football, very few have ever earned themselves that label.

I can totally understand fans’ frustration at the current situation, although I’m adamant we could be in a far worse predicament.

In discussion with other Ipswich fans on Twitter this week, a couple pointed out that we should not be afraid of change — a more than valid opinion.

But after Jim Magilton got the boot back in 2009 and what followed, I have to admit — I’m a little bit fearful.

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