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Earl: There Are a Lot of Points Left to Play For
Sunday, 23rd Feb 2020 17:09

Defender Josh Earl insists Town are still aiming for the top two despite Saturday’s frustrating 1-0 home defeat to Oxford United.

The loss to the U’s saw the Blues drop to eighth in League One, eight points off the top two with only 11 games left to play.

Town dominated the first half and had a number of chances but were unable to take any of them before Oxford’s first passage of passing play in the Blues’ half a minute before half-time carved them open and led to Matty Taylor’s goal.

Earl, who was making his third Town start having joined on loan from Preston in January, admitted it was an exasperating match.

“Yes, a frustrating afternoon,” he said. “Feel like we’ve been on top the majority of the game, we’ve had chances and we’ve just not defended that one chance they’ve had.”

That pattern is one which has become familiar to Town fans this season with a number of games having followed a similar progression.

“It happens in every season, it happens in every team, in every league,” the 21-year-old said. “It’s part of football. But it’s happened to us quite often recently.

"We’ve had many chances and not taken them and then we’ve conceded one sloppy goal we’ve got to do better.”

Why does he believe that’s been the case? “To be honest, I can’t put my finger on an issue. I’m not pointing fingers at my team-mates.

“As a defence we’ve got to defend better, as attackers we’ve got to take some more chances and that’s it at the end of the day.”

The Blues appeared to become more anxious and more frustrated as chances continued to be spurned and Town’s performance drifted in the second period.

“It’s a bit deflating,” the Southport-born defender reflected. “We’ve had loads of chances, we could have put the ball in the back of the net three times and then they go and score one just before half-time. It is obviously frustrating, deflating but we’ve just got to pick ourselves up and go again.”

Looking back at the Oxford goal, Earl felt he and his team-mates could have done better: “I think so, but I think you can do that with every goal. You can look at every goal and pick out little bits that you can do better, so we’ll do the same again and try and rectify our mistakes on the training ground.”

Manager Paul Lambert has stated on a number of occasions that clubs will come to Portman Road, one of League One’s biggest stadiums, and raise their game with the Blues’ home form having suffered as a result.

“Of course they do, but we should as well because it’s a massive club, it’s a massive stadium, it’s a massive fanbase,” Earl said.

“Of course people want to come and play here. We’ve just got to play like it is a massive place and we’ve got to play better.”

He added: “We’re a massive team, we’re a massive club, we’ve got almost unbelievable players that can go and win games all the time, so we’ve just got to go back to the training ground and rectify mistakes we’ve made.”

He says the mood around the training ground remains upbeat: “The mood’s absolutely fine. We’re all still aspiring for the same thing and we still all believe and we still have to believe.

"There’s no point in not believing we can do it because [if that was the case] we’d never be able to do it. If we believe then we’ve always got a chance of doing it.”

And he says he and his team-mates empathise with the frustrations supporters showed at the final whistle: “Of course I understand the fans’ frustration. We’re as frustrated as the fans are.

“We understand that they come every week to watch us play and support us every single week and we appreciate them a lot and we’ve got to be better for them.

“We’ve got to be better for ourselves, we’ve got to be better for the staff, it’s a toughie. We’ve just got to bounce back now.”

A week ago everyone was leaving Portman Road with a spring in their step after the 4-1 vanquishing of Burton Albion, the Blues having come from behind before putting the Brewers to the sword in the second half.

“It could have been the same today but they scored so late on in the first half that it kicked us back a little bit,” Earl added.

“We couldn’t get a foothold in the game in the second half and they’ve managed the game well as well, so it’s a tough one.”

Despite Town now being eighth in the table, Earl insists the aim remains the top two rather than the play-offs.

“We’re still going for the same thing,” he said. “We’ve still got 11 games left to play, there are a lot of points left to play for.”

Looking ahead to next week’s trip to his native North-West and Blackpool, he added: “Three points needed next week, it’s a massive game.”

Photo: TWTD

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Dissboyitfc added 17:17 - Feb 23
heard it all before, actions speak louder than words!

BangaloreBlues added 17:18 - Feb 23
All is not lost, we can still do it.
I'll keep the faith until it's mathematically impossible.

Dissboyitfc added 17:18 - Feb 23
do you think they draw straws to see who is going to say there are loads of points to play for? soon will have to think of a new tach phrase because there wont be loads left to play for!

muhrensleftfoot added 17:22 - Feb 23
It's not his fault, hes's only been here 5 minutes but I do wish they didn't keep coming out with such nonsense. We need to go from relegation form to Liverpoolesque form right now to make that happen. Many many years of steady continual decline has destroyed any optimism I have..

Dissboyitfc added 17:24 - Feb 23
Catch Phrase

Suffolkboy added 17:33 - Feb 23
Nor too difficult to pick out th essential truth here ‘ got to score more goals ‘ !
It’s been the case al season AND Judge and Nolan have been notable for either lacking commitment ,or technique and calmness and disciplined attention to the task in the last third : woeful application matched by a certain lack of coordination amongst the forwards as a whole .
Sort it !

Pecker added 17:35 - Feb 23
Running out of games and excuses.

cooper442 added 17:36 - Feb 23
I really do not think player's to keep coming out to say this kind of thing helps, if the players have the ability that we keep being told that they have, why do they continually keep not producing it ..

cat added 17:39 - Feb 23
My sentiments exactly. Feel for these players having to come out in front of the media, with the fans ready and waiting, armed to the teeth with pitch forks at ready (lol) So look at it another way, if they said nothing we’d have nothing to comment on 😁

Bildestoned added 17:52 - Feb 23
I’m starting to get a feeling as far as Lambert is concerned that we are being confronted with a case of the Emperor’s new clothes. It feels a bit like a guy who can’t provide for his family but who regularly rocks up at home with a bunch of flowers or a little gift. That literally and metaphorically doesn’t put bread on the table. Ya get me?

Trequartista added 17:53 - Feb 23
massive club, massive stadium, massive fanbase, massive place, massive team, massive game, unbelievable players

thanks for that, mr hyperbole

dirtydingusmagee added 17:53 - Feb 23
has put in reasonable shifts since being here IMO ,but its the 2nd time he has been pushed out already to make a statement obviously intended to get fans hopes up , and these statements backfire 9 times out of ten , GIVE US A BREAK .

dirtydingusmagee added 17:57 - Feb 23
Trequartista you missed out Massive Manager with Massive ego and Massive contract .

Skip73 added 18:39 - Feb 23
What a load of crap! The team and management are the worst in the clubs history by a mile! Sack the lot of them and start again.

happybeingblue added 18:45 - Feb 23
4 wins in 22 matches against burton tranmere lincoln and accrington stanley probably means we arent very good though josh,despite being told by our manager the players are doing really well etc and we are playing really well etc in every pre match press conference, ITFC groundhog day etc.

ChrisFelix added 18:52 - Feb 23
Thought at first it was 1st April.
Need to get rid of captain calamity, at fault & out of position for the Oxford goal

TimmyH added 18:55 - Feb 23
and lots of points to be dropped (the way we've been performing)...

StowTractorBoy added 19:07 - Feb 23
The reason for our decline lays almost entirely at the feet of the Manager with his stupid rotation policy and inadequacies on the tactical front. He continually picks a team with no playmaker hence numerous sideways and back passing hence forwards get little or no service. I have not always been a Dozzell fan but surely he is better than that lot who turned up in midfield yesterday . Judge was a lost sole yesterday which is not surprising when he is stuck out wide. For a man who has managed huge Clubs as only he keeps telling us, his team selections and tactical changes have been nothing short of woeful.
I am not an Evans outer but heavens above giving Lambert a 5 year deal is absurd in the extreme. Can you imagine over 4 more years of this dross on the pitch and patronising remarks to us supporters. Unless something changes soon our beloved Club will be stuck in the lower leagues for years to come. Sorry to be so negative but apart from my family Ipswich Town F.C. is my life and at the moment in that regard life is terrible, and cannot see it getting better under the current regime.

Cakeman added 19:17 - Feb 23
No don’t next week it will be turn of one the turnstile operators to give the company line!

dannyrr added 19:17 - Feb 23
What a load of tosh. There are a lot of points to play for but with so many home games to come I’m not hopeful of gaining many of them. Our home form is dire. One win in many is only a sticking plaster over our shortcomings. We can’t score goals and that’s what wins games. We have lacked goals for many seasons. That’s a big contributory factor to relegation from the championship. We should have brought in another striker in the transfer window. We get so many chances to score but continually fail to produce the goods. We kept possession for 40 minutes yesterday and couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. Oxford had one chance with our mistake and managed to score. At that point all they had to do was defend which they did. They were pressing right till the last minute and we kept going back and sideways but not forward. Even for being top of the table at the end of the year I can’t see us making even the playoffs.

brittaniaman added 19:53 - Feb 23
Don't be silly Josh the points are diminishing fast now, we could not even grab one against Oxford AT HOME ?? What with Fleetwood and Coventry (both above us) the next two Home games, what do you think of our chances Josh ??? Our Faith is diminishing as quick as the points.

LWNR2013 added 20:01 - Feb 23
Then start playing for them!

SheptonMalletBlue added 20:01 - Feb 23
You've been listening too much to your gaffer Josh!

monkeymagic added 20:05 - Feb 23
At this point in a season, luck, refereeing decisions and injuries etc have largely ‘evened out’, so being 8th is probably a fair reflection of this squads ability. I put the awful run down to rotation, tactical ineptness and complacency. There’s likely to be some truth in all 3 but a look back at the opening fixtures and performances suggest it’s simply down to ability. Fortunate to win at Burton, poor finishing and moment of defensive madness cost us the win against Sunderland and rather jammy to beat Wimbledon ; with plenty of very narrow wins against ‘inferior’ teams. Fast forward and nothing’s changed really, we’ve just had more games against better sides and can still just about be relied on to beat clubs in the bottom half. What we have is a sprinkling of talent in a largely mediocre squad, which owing to it’s size, results in a large wage bill. I suspect Lambert would have been allowed to buy/sell but back in the summer none of this lot would have commanded good fees and knowing less than half of any money raised would be reinvested he opted to go for numbers rather than quality; hoping fresher legs in 2020 would be enough. I’d predict a 9th places finish, Wolf and Downes to be sold for about 10m and around 3-4m spent on decent league one pro’s that will keep us competitive in this Division. Evans is scared of the Championship, he knows the outlay that comes with that step and is looking for Town to be self sustaining. Aside from giving it a bit of a go with Keane he’s never really invested. Keeping us in float by putting in circa 5m per year to cover operational costs is not investment - that’s the bare minimum he needs to do. He looked to make a quick buck when he bought in and having failed to do that has spent the best part of a decade looking to cut costs. It’s shameful. If this was a PLC and he was CEO, the shareholders would have ousted him years ago. I don’t buy the no alternative line : this slow death is awful. I’d rather it went tits up and we did a Wimbledon/Portsmouth and came back as a fan owned club. Seriously, what’s the point at the moment, where is the hope?

busterjames1 added 20:54 - Feb 23
Does anyone know how to cancel a bid on EBay? This morning I bid £7.99 on a cowboy outfit and now I’m 11 minutes away from owning ITFC !!!!!

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