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[Blog] What Happens Next?
Written by DurhamTownFan on Wednesday, 1st Feb 2012 12:48

Like many Ipswich supporters, I regarded Town’s dealings in the transfer window as absolutely crucial to the outcome of this torturous season.

At around 5 o’clock Tuesday night, things looked very bleak indeed. The repeated and by now monotonous calls from supporters and the manager to sign these magical ‘young, hungry’ players had apparently fallen through.

We’d missed out on long-term targets Billy Sharp and Sean St Ledger, could not tempt Crewe’s Nick Powell to agitate for a move, nor could we persuade any of the Pompey trio to jump from frying pan to fire.

It spoke volumes of our current reputation in the football world that Falkirk pair Kallum Higginbotham and Murray Wallace chose League One Huddersfield over Ipswich Town.

Paul Jewell, Simon Clegg and Marcus Evans will be looking at our bombastic 5-1 win against West Ham as a dream result, throwing all three a lifeline at a point when fans' trust and confidence in the club and how it was being managed was at its lowest ebb for a generation. So what happens next? Should we now be confident, or perhaps retain some restraint and nervousness about the future?

Our transfer activity showed some important evidence for predicting Paul Jewell’s long-term status as manager of the club. Fans will, and should still be rightly concerned about, our inability to sign a new central defender, whose confidence has not been battered by this year's defensive showings.

We might also feel a sense of annoyance at news reports that Wallace, Ward and Henderson chose not to sign for us because the money being offered wasn’t good enough, or as much as they might get elsewhere.

Although we are told that our scouts have been very busy, we still have signed just one player and loaned another, and several players have turned us down in favour of other clubs or staying put on a sinking ship. Overall, this looks like poor progress.

But there is another, more positive, side to this. We are now shot of the vastly overpaid Tamás Priskin who, a few decent games aside, has been fairly uninspiring in a Town shirt. Jewell’s suggestion that he and Evans discussed reining in our transfer spending should also be a positive one when fans consider the funds spent on now derided or departed buys like Priskin, Grant Leadbitter, Márton Fülöp and (dare I say it?) Jimmy Bullard.

Our only permanent signing cost just £50,000, which can be applauded when you consider Ryan Stevenson’s apparent experience and potential international quality.

So, fans will be wondering what happens next. It seems that Evans will no longer bankroll over-the-top big-money or big-name signings, and perhaps he is right in doing so. However, I for one do worry that this might hamper our chances when it really matters, in the manner of Kevin Philips in the late-90s, or maybe Billy Sharp more recently.

But we did beat the division’s top side last night, and we beat them convincingly. Two Jewell signings, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Michael Chopra, both did the business, and whoever did the motivational speeches before the game must surely deserve a medal.

However, those fans who will reply to this piece with unbridled optimism should do well to remember that this is still only one game, with many more to come. Nottingham Forest’s abject form suggests that we will escape the drop, but unless we repeat that performance at least every other game for the rest of this season, things might get tricky come the summer.

Paul Jewell, it seems, has bought himself some time. But just how much time, will become clear in the coming weeks and games.

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

BluedanW added 13:26 - Feb 1
Big question'? was last night another Barnsley or do we actually use this result as a stepping stone to survival and hopefully better transfer dealings in the summer!

irishtim added 13:37 - Feb 1
Good blogbut lets give the players credit for last night. Hopefully this can be the stat of a succesful ipswich town which is what we all want.

ElginCityBlue added 13:48 - Feb 1
One swallow doesn't make a summer... to coin a phrase.

cooper4england added 13:50 - Feb 1
There is no doubt that playing hungry players i.e. Drury and Hyman is paying off. The "senior" players now require seeing out their ludicrous contracts.

I feel the club was right to ditch the Pompey players. They obviously didnt want to come so demanded crazy money. I still believe that Evans will bankroll sensible deals. These guys just made negoiating impossible, sadly possibly to the detriment of the club they are supposed to love.

Good blog

Vic added 13:53 - Feb 1
I'm amazed and hugely disappointed that we didn't bring in at least one defender yesterday. It leaves big, big questions marks over the way the club is managed in my opinion.

However, on the field it should be noted that last nights performance was not a one off but the latest in a run of fine performances generally. Against both Blackpool and Leeds we were by far the better side. So my optimism for the team isn't based on one very impressive result but on a corner that seems to have been turned since the youngsters came in.

Off field I have increasingly grave concerns.

JayITFC added 13:57 - Feb 1
Drury is proof that hungry players at a lower level can prove their worth. His quality and contribution is no less than a Bullard or Bowyer. We've done it before with Walters as well. Hopefully Stevenson will prove an equally shrude bit of business.

Luggworm added 14:03 - Feb 1
Not getting players in may prove to be for the good in the long run. Maintain the current performances and we will avoid relegation, there hasn't been any chance of seriously making the play offs for some time now so we need to be looking to next season already. We have a reputation for paying well over the odds for signings since ME took over may be now clubs will look at our bids in a more realistic light.

Nice to see PJ agreeing to not pay more than a players worth rather than whinging about not getting deals done.

Facefacts added 14:05 - Feb 1
Thanks for those thoughts - it's time to build on last night and stick with the same team. Stop dropping Lee-Barratt, he should stay in the team and resist the temptation to bring back KamiCarthy. I don't think Stevenson should get in, either, not straight away, not after last night - similar fee, similar situation, similar youtube video to George O'Callaghan. Maybe from the bench if we're losing against Coventry and need a wonder goal.

rosseden added 14:12 - Feb 1
good blog, the acid test for me is whether we bring in 8 or 10 players at the end of the season, younger, vibrant players, who want the shirt...... or whether we end up hitting pre season with whats left of this years crop..... if we do the former, i'll be happy as i think with a decent preseason we'll challenge next year......

naa added 14:15 - Feb 1
FaceFacts: I agree that we need to stick with the team for a bit and not change players for 'better' ones for the sake of it. It gives the wrong message if someone comes in, does a good job and gets dropped for a 'name' purely for the sake of it. Hyam and Drury have solidified that midfield nicely, especially Drury, who looks fit and hungry. And while we know that Lee-Barratt is capable of a calamity we certainly do not have any better options (Wright and McCarthy are hardly calamity proof themselves and McCarthy isn't even our player), so we should be showing faith in these fringe players to let them grow into the team even further.

Our defence still looks shaky but I thought that last night the full-backs were a little less gung-ho and Murphy and JET covered well when they did forage upfield. That, for me, has been the weak point of our defending this season and hopefully it means that finally the players and management have worked it out too!

Superfrans added 15:37 - Feb 1
Good blog. For me, the most important thing for PJ to do before the end of the season is get the likes of JET, Martin, Hyam, Carson, Drury and Cresswell signed up on longer deals. We should be aiming to keep them here for five years and build something around them.
A centre half or two are definitely needed, along with a full back, another couple of hungry strikers - all between now and preseason. But last night demonstrated that we do have the quality and drive to get out of trouble in this division.
Before last night, I reckoned we needed 7 wins to be certain of safety. If we win at Coventry on Saturday, we will need five more - a perfectly achievable aim.
But Saturday is more important than last night. If we lose to the bottom club, that will counteract the positive vibe generated by beating the top club - and we'll be back where we started. One match at a time.

Surco72 added 15:56 - Feb 1
Naa ..
totally agree with you on the defending ,everybody slating two centre backs but they are having to cover an awful lot for two poor defensive full backs .Not totally sold on Smith but he will only get better at such a young age ,so Sonko has rally been on his own which leads to mistakes .
Also agree we have to stick with ALB unless we sign a keeper on loan who will definately sign in summer (Loach/Henderson )?
Very impressed with Hyam and Drury , but having the likes of Bullard on the bench is quality as he is a match winner on his day without a doubt and think Stevenson will be pushing hard for a start also ,cant see a place for Leadbitter who clearly doesnt want to be here anyway or he would have signed a new contract ,get rid of another Keane flop

Lightningboy added 16:52 - Feb 1
Coventry will prove whether that was a flash in the pan or not.

We still need about 5 players imho - a permanent GK,a right back,2 centre backs & another striker.

Really good to see Smith,Drury,Hyam & JET taking their chance though..hopefully we've seen the last of Leadbitter slowing down our midfield.

megamoth added 20:05 - Feb 1
Good blog. Had forgotten how close we came to signing Phillips.

Don't forget about Jewells love of loan signings. Expect at least 2 new faces in the next couple of weeks - to include at least one of the Pompey lads and possibly Collins (dont think he signed up with anyone did he?)

michaeldownunder added 22:26 - Feb 1
Hope we get Collins back on loan, the ball is not always going to be punted down the middle of the pitch for Sonko to head away.

The full backs have to defend first cut out the cross and you cut out a lot of goals. Defend as a unit and let the attack take care of itself. This the problems when you have a very good but very young fullback and an ex winger playing as fullbacks. Without a good c/half pair what can talk them thru the game you are always going to be open to the counter- attack

Our forwards will always make chances/score goals
With players like Martin and JET you are always going to need a solid defence
as it is not in their game to sit infront of the fullbacks. Playing Martin and JET in free roles gives them room to play and also stops the opposition fullbacks from pushing forward at will.

The problem with playing Josh carson is we need the hight of Murphy in the team, both in attack and defence. Carson should be on the bench as we do not need both Bullard and Ledbitter as cover players. This the problem with only 5 subs not 7, hope they will change this next season. As there almost no reserve league worth talking about, when are the younger players going to get a game?

At last Jewell is playing Hyam and Dury ,Hyam for work infront of the back four
(or even behind it some times) and Dury for ability to find a pass between players for our fowards to run onto.

As for the Portsmouth players not wanting to come to Ipswich, they are trying to be loyal to Portsmouth. People complain about lack of loyalty and some people on this site have slated them for the same thing. The football league/PFA will pay their wages if Portsmouth cannot. Most players want to stay close to home if they can. Just think of the No. of players who transfer around the midland clubs so they don't have to move home

Let's just beat Coventry on Saturday and talk again

AlpineBlue added 11:41 - Feb 2
A very good blog. Tuesday's result certainly had the look of a freak result, and it does not mean that we should be dreaming of the play-offs. However, on an off-day West Ham are better than most of the Championship on a good day, and the result demonstrates that we have the quality to beat almost anyone on a good day. Where we finish in the table depends on how many good days we have, but I feel reassured that we won't get relegated, especially if we can get a competent defender on loan.
So we are not going anywhere this season, and as previous commenters have mentioned, Jewell is now playing Hyam and Drury who have been impressive, the last few performances have been good bar shambolic defending.
A good end of season, one or two signings in the summer, and next season we may have a solid, settled team going into the new season for the first time in a good few years.

austractor added 05:16 - Feb 3
For me, the way Burley built and developed his team over a number of seasons was the approach that best suits Ipswich town even to this day.

I think having people like Leadbitter, Bullard and co. (the high earners, and all our expensive loans) is what is counting against us when we try negotiating personal terms with other players because they expect us to be made of money.

Drury & Hyam are living proof that your price tag is not a guarantee of performance, so give me more Drury's and less Bullard's and I think we will get back to how we used to be (one of the better sides in this division year on year).

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