A case for the defence

Damien Delaney

So five games into the new football season and what have we learnt as Ipswich fans?

Well, firstly Paul Jewell is a far more successful purchaser of players than Roy Keane ever was and secondly Ibrahima Sonko is soon going to have the best website ever created.

The first month of this season has been a curious one, where it’s fair to say more questions have been posed than answered. Remember that balmy Saturday afternoon in August when we basked in the glory of being top of the league? Well you should do, it was only three weeks ago, yet in that time the joy of Michael Chopra’s opening day double at Ashton Gate has been diluted by a flood of goals at the wrong end.

The embarassment of being pulverised in front of the Sky cameras by an overweight Peterborough striker in Lee Tomlin and your team almost lambasted by their own manager in the post-match interviews was unbearable. Thankfully, I was a guest at a friend’s wedding that afternoon so didn’t have to endure the torture of the 7-1 humiliation in my own living room. I dread to think how the faithful who watched it in the flesh were feeling on their return.

Days earlier, Southampton made us look like schoolboys as their confident squad ran rings aroud our dazzled “defenders” in a 5-2 demolition. But, we had shown some signs of fight in that game to come back from 3-0 down to 3-2, before our lack of steel was exposed yet again.

This was of course preceded by a 1-0 defeat at home to Hull when reports claimed we created few clear cut chances.

All the while, panic has been setting in from some quarters of the support. But, how badly did we need a scrappy 2-1 win against Leeds to stave off the doom merchants before the international break?

All in all, Paul Jewell has now brought in eleven new faces over the summer and before the end of the transfer window including the likes of Michael Chopra, Lee Bowyer, Nathan Ellington, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Keith Andrews, David Stockdale and many people’s returning Messiah, Jimmy Bullard.

An impressive haul when looked at on its own, but when you consider the strength in depth squads now have in the Championhip, it’s essential in order to compete at the right end of the table.

Some of the additions have worked well, others less so, but when you introduce that many new faces into a side, it will take time for them to bed in.

If new man Ivar Ingimarrsson can get himself fit for a month of tough tests in September, we’ll have the makings of a rigid set of central defenders with Delaney and Sonko. One imagines one, if not both, of Tamas Priskin and Jason Scotland will leave before the deadline passes, but at least Jason might have at least raised his asking price with a belter of an equaliser against Leeds.

We now have experience and goal-scoring potential in Bowyer, Bullard and Andrews (it’s three goals in three for the Republic of Ireland man) and hopefully Daryl Murphy’s second loan spell at Portman Road will prove equally as prolific as his first the season before last.

So lets keep the faith, back the squad and the manager. This isn’t going to be an overnight fix and every side’s season has its peaks and troughs. Hopefully the scrappy nature of the win against Leeds will have done something to lift the malaise of the home support and get the nerves off the players’ backs.

In Paul Jewell we trust!

Written by Adam Williams, We Are Going Up’s Ipswich Town Blogger

Adam tweets at @adam_j_williams

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