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Blackpool Linked With Nolan Move
at 21:35:36

As much as I love Bish & Emyr as top class players at this level and very good championship players, I will not be convinced that their problems are behind them until they have both played at least 30 or so games with out missing less than a handful. Jack Lankester will have had over a season out and Tristram Nydam has still a long way to go before back to full fitness. Judgey needs to prove he can up his level of performance on a consistent basis to win me over.

Nolo is a box to box midfielder who has a little bit of everything, he can play the role behind the two strikers and has potentially more goals in him than Skuse, Downes & Bish put together.

I don’t think we would get a decent replacement at this level who can up his game in Championship if we get back up, For the price we are likely to get for him.

The jury is still very much out on our fragile midfield in terms of robustness to maintain a good run of games so it’s a no for me as I don’t see at the moment where we would spend that money, who would want to come.

He provides a number of options from the bench - so it’s a no thank you from me - you can keep you money Blackpool.
Ipswich Town 1-0 Lincoln City - Match Report
at 19:54:27

Squad rotation is dead!!!!

See Paul the fans can sometimes be right.

I thought I was watching a team that had played together for a long time.

Pretty much dominated possession from start to finish, slick movement of the ball and lots of good individual performances.

Michael Appleton is a good manager and very experienced.he has started to transform Lincoln following the slump from when the Cowleys left. This side could do us a few favours against our main opponents

Just a little more in the final third and we are nicely positioned to contest a top two spot. This next week or so sees our most difficult fixtures left for the season, come out of this next spell well, even if we get three draws, then a top two position will almost be ours to loose.
Lambert: Skuse Contract Talks With Owner Evans Ongoing
at 11:32:36

Skusey is a good solid holding midfielder capable of another year or two in the Championship

A great servant to both Bristol City and Ipswich a good club man and very decent pro who brings experience wit and harmony to the dressing room.

Playing in front of a back four he does an excellent job.

It’s easy to criticise him, and I have in the past , frustrating as a footballer he can’t shoot. I would be out there after training every afternoon trying to develop my game and technique in practicing hitting a ball from 18 yards at the goal until I got it right.

In our current formation we have a third centre back and a midfield dou that can carry the ball and lay further forward. The third centre back really helps occupy the space of a deep lying holding player and negates the need for another more defensive minded player.

This year we get a certain amount of dispensation on FFP for Div 1 which formula differs from Championship.

Rather than just focus on financial Losses a salary cap will be with us next year in Div 1 which means we cannot pay more than 60% of our turnover in wages!!! Last accounts presented we were above 100%, granted that this will have already come down with contract relegation clauses but the squad will have to be trimmed and more youngsters will form the nucleus of the squad

ME has rightly been criticised in the past for letting contracts run down, here I think it is the right decision as much as I would like Cole Skuse to remain at the club but not necessarily a regular starter. This is fair to the club and to the player as it gives him the option to move back to the Championship and earn more in his final year or so .
El Mizouni Joins Cambridge on Loan
at 20:55:18

This is good news. This lad has the potential to be another Teddy Bishop although his game is slightly different. If he was given a run in our team now I don’t think he would let us down but we have more experienced options in the way - so this move gives him the opportunity to develop some consistency and experience ready to take a regular place on the bench next season with a view to nailing a first team slot at some point in the not too distant future. He will be available to backfill when the likes of Judge and perhaps Edwards move on in a year or two.
Ayr Boss Impressed By Debutant Drinan
at 08:25:23

It’s all about proving yourself, sadly this lad has struggled to do that, the only place he seems to have scored at goals is at Waterford. He has a spell at non league Sutton without any goals but I seem to recall he spent most of his time on the bench there. He didn’t score in the Swedish 2nd tear either. If you go on loan as a striker you need to get goals in the non-league scene, Jack Marriott was ripping it up when loaned out at that level. Let’s be honest town need a good target man option in our strike force and at the moment other than maybe Will Keane there is nobody else stopping him at least getting on the bench

Along with Cotter I am sure both lads showed promise but I fear they will drift off of the scene - Micks generosity to the Irish clubs perhaps clouded his judgement.
Downes: Emyr’s an Absolute Tank!
at 00:04:54

Huws has given us a higher level of tempo and is the best all round midfielder that we have - carrying the ball forward positively creates openings. It is tempting to draw a negative comparison with Cole Skuse and a more pedestrian approach which often slows the game down allowing teams to get behind the ball and frustrating the game. Having made that apparent criticism of Skusey who is a very good player in the right formation but having three at the back somewhat eliminates the need for a deep lying midfielder. Hopefully Cole can continue to serve us from the bench or perhaps cover for Flynn Downes. Unfortunately with Cole there is no prospect of a goal or two, great goal from Flynn yesterday and would luv to see him develop that side of his game to get into the box in Warkesque style. Least with Flynn and Emyr you can’t rule out the posssibility of a goal threat.

I actually feel that Bish will eventually dislodge Alan Judge from the advance midfield slot. We are blessed with so much quality here, Jon Nolan I think can still come in and do a really good job. Pressure will be on Judgey now to perform consistently. The future is really bright here as both Jack Lankester and Idris El Miz.. can both easily drop into this role. I think El Mizouni will become an outstanding player for us but at the moment we need to get him loaned out to continue his development.

On to Andre, Who I think has played very well in his recent appearances, yes it’s a shame he isn’t progressing but I think he will do well in the Championship should we get back there. His class still shows through. Probably not the right time for him at the moment in this league, this time of the year and on these pitches.

Given that we have Tristan Nydam to come back who is very versatile and could well cover at wingback. The future is unbelievably bright and exciting. I think some of our talent is outstanding it is just getting the right blend of experience around the young players that will be the key in taking the club forward.

I haven’t seen young Henderson or Andoh but with two giant young centre backs a year or two from making a break through then I can understand why Lambo and Evans paint a very bright outlook. Just need to get out of this drudge of a league - I think we have enough quality to get back to a mid table championship club developing further if we can keep producing quality young players.

Lambert: £10m-Rated Woolfenden Still Just as Laid-Back
at 01:09:27

If Everton paid £6 million for a 17 year old who hadn’t played a single first team match at the time and two years on the lad still hasn’t played in a premiership match then a few of £10 million for Woolfy by comparison is not a big ask for a premiership club who believes the lad has real potential. It won’t belong before he is every bit as good as Tyrone Mings was when we sold him for £8 million. The lad has plenty of time on his side and he will be much better for it if he plays regular first team football rather than bench warming or struggling to get on the bench at a premier league club. As a result in a couple of years time he will be far more mature with extra experience and regular games where he will then be able to command or push for a first team place in the premier league. Whilst he might miss out on some big money for a year or two, he is more than likely able to command a much better deal with a club having had the extra experience.
Ipswich Town 4-1 Accrington Stanley - Match Report
at 00:16:03

Firstly, putting aside the harsh penalty I thought the referee was by far the best official we have had at PR this season. I do though give some credit to Accrington, they did not come to spoil the game and therefore, there was space to be found on the pitch, this somewhat made it easier for the officials. In fact second half they had a higher percentage of the possession stats than us which took the overall to 50/50%

Accrington have been doing well in the current form table so this is a creditable result.

Terry Butcher quite rightly mentioned on the radio today that most away teams try and stabilise the game for the first 20 minutes to try and frustrate the home fans -and therefore home teams should come out of the blocks fast to try and physcologically break their resistance early.

When you get 5 man of the match contenders i.e. Woolfenden, Huws, Judge, Jackson and Norwood then that tells you much about the performance. Also not forgetting good performances from the rest of the team as well - Chambers not far behind the 5 mentioned above.

I have to say I have often been critical of Jackson, and whilst I think he is a number 10 more than a number 9 I have to pay tribute to his efforts today and whilst Norwood probably got the goal of the game award I would have kept Jackson on to play alongside Will Keane because that partnership could work well as well and for me Jackson shaded it over Norwood today for me for overall performance.! Norwood needs to make better decisions although a good striker does need a selfish streak.

Huws drive and energy to push us forward at a faster tempo than the pedestrian Skuse was a key feature for me today, it was noticeable after Emyr went off that our energy levels dropped although again before that Accrington started getting hold of more possession.

Skuse for me now becomes a utility player mainly from the bench, the quicker build up today was very noticible, I saw very little sideways passing for the first 60 minutes or so.

Interesting that we are started adopting the Sheffield United approach of raiding centre backs. Making runs from the back certainly make it very difficult for the opposition to pick up hence probably a good decision to loan out Toto to make space for another central defender like the Everton lad who has a reputation of being a very good footballer. Astonishing that Everton paid £6 million for this lad at the age of 16. 3 years on he hasn’t made a Premiership appearance!!!! What price does that put Woolfie at? None the less if the Everton lad becomes available on loan then I would certainly welcome it.

Think PH has grudgingly got the message about the rotation policy but doing his stubborn Mick impressions. I think we have got the nucleus of a really settled side with 15 players, this doesn’t mean you can’t make the odd rotation between 3-4 strikers but only one per game and likewise in midfield, sticking to the same. But no more if at all than a couple of changes.
Blues Eyeing Everton Youngster as Nsiala's Replacement
at 19:35:40

This will play right into PLs squad rotation.

Chambers and Woolfie one week
Chambers and Gibson the next and then back to Woolfie again.

Wilson will get the odd game but predominantly cover Chambers and give him a rest.

Alternatively if 3 at the back played then Wilson, Woolfie and Gibson can each miss a game in turn.
Roberts Joins Gillingham on Loan
at 22:55:42

To be fair to the lad this is a good move for him and gets him off of our books as we won’t renew his contract in the summer so in essence he is gone now. He can be a decent player at this level in the right team with the right manager, but not quite strong enough for us or the Championship. A good move all round - wish him the best of luck, it will create room to bring in a target man perhaps and or give opportunity for Ben Morris who with a bit of luck has a bright future.
Bolton Targeting Nsiala Move
at 07:39:29

Having paid somewhere near the £1 million mark for Toto, then this is likely to be a loan or a free transfer to get his wages off the books as I would imagine Bolton have little spare cash for transfer fees. He did have a good season at Shrewsbury and at 6ft 4 in does give us height in both boxes. But it is fair to say he does look too risky of an option with his clumsiness, just awaiting another penalty or sending off to happen. I get the impression that the rest of the defence feels nervous when Toto is in the back four especially when as a right footer he is being played on the left (perhaps the main issue). Perhaps a loan move will just rebuild his confidence and allow him to return next season a more assured defender.
Wing Wonders (Part Two)
at 10:03:10

Keep up the good work @elephantintheroom excellent blog, bringing back loads of memories - not sure how you have managed to recall some of the finer detail but well done.

I couldn’t recall what the qualification rules were for the Texaco Cup, but to win this trophy on your neighbours soil was a sweet moment, I don’t seem to recall even then that we had friendly banter at local derbies - I seem to recall travelling to Norwich on a coach that evening and having Norwich fans throw stones at our coach. In the sixties it was much friendlier but football then went through the skinhead stage and got ugly. Given the qualification rules, outside the one season wonder tour to Bayern Munich, the season before the Texaco cup must have been Norwich’s second best season in the top flight to qualify the for Texaco cup. As runners up perhaps we should allow them half a star on their shirts.

For the youngies reading this “diesel Morris” real name is Peter Morris.
Tractor Girls Beat Portsmouth to Reach FA Cup Fourth Round
at 16:51:36

Really disappointed I wasn’t able to make it today, but very well done girls - hopefully we will get one of the big teams in the next round.
Bishop: We Didn't Deserve to Lose on Second-Half Display
at 16:14:15

Sorry Teddy, I am a massive fan of you but if we are wasteful with chances and then let the opposition score two scrappy goals not picking up the opposition forwards then we definitely deserved to loose.

That’s a hard fact, the sooner the players realise this and take responsibility for the result then the team will develop an excuse mentality.
Posh Could Eye Blues Striker Jackson Claim
at 12:41:22

He’s not a number 9, For me he sits in the same space as Freddie Sears. his graft cannot be criticised but we are desperately in need of a player in the mould of Daryl Murphy or Alan Lee. Most Division 1 and Division 2 teams have a player in this mould and it was very evident against Wycombe when we were getting good balls into the box we didn’t have a physical presence attacking them.

I personally think we paid well over the top for Jackson having only scored 11 goals for Stanley in Division 2 the season before we signed him.

It still sticks in my throat that between Nsiala and Jackson we parted with 2.6 million, I feel like we have been mugged.

Unless PL develops this wonderful brand of football where we will end up passing the ball into the net, to get out of this league we don’t need a Championship quality centre forward but somebody with the right attributes for the game at this level.

At 40 years old Aaron Wilbraham did a job against Newcastle yesterday.

Tom Pope at 33 got a great centre forward goal for Port Vale against Manchester City at the Etihad.

Akinfenwa at 37 still causes havoc when he is brought on.

When Newcastle bought Daryl Murphy from us I suggest their was no realistic prospect of him being a regular player in the premiership but he was bought with the sole purpose of getting them out of the Championship.

A battering ram forward should be on our shopping list even if it is an ageing signing who has only a year or two left in him.
Taylor: Massively Disappointing Because We Did Enough to Win
at 00:04:00

“We asked the lads to be brave”

That just about sums it up, having to ask the players to be brave against a weakened Exeter side.

You have to give every club due respect but all players have to take responsibility to try and make things happen.

At Wycombe we got plenty of crosses in, some good ones but we fail to get on the end of them or get more bodies in the box.

Exeter City 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
at 17:34:22

We can keep repeating the fact that we are not clinical enough in both boxes but cannot seem to fix this.

Two key moments demonstrate this, Jackson fluffing yet another gilt edge chance. Teddy,s great run and cross ball to the back post and nobody to follow in.

Exeter bring on Bowman a physical presence again to ruff our defence up - every team in Div 1 and Div 2 needs a player who is going to be combative and bully defenders - where is our equivalent?

Jackson and Nsiala whilst arguably being capable at this level are not doing anywhere near enough - until PL completes the missing part of the jigsaw to be able to turn the screw on teams in League 1 we will forever be talking about taking positives out of matches we have failed to win or even loose saying how well our build up play was.

My fear is like under MM there will come the time where Lambert does not have the answers and the atmosphere will turn toxic again knowing that we have a manager with a long contract that ME will not want to terminate.

Don’t get me wrong I have been a big PL fan and not calling for his head but I am not sure the quality of football has improved much at all, how much time does he need to create what we need an identity and a ruthless brand of football - this at the moment looks so far away from being achievable, I am not sure fans will be patient to wait the full 5 year term to see a final product.
Blues and Swindon Linked with Halifax Striker
at 00:19:22

He is not going to cost the earth, and quite frankly if he proves to be an awkward physical presence that just helps us get out of this league like an Akinfenwa then he can move on if he doesn’t make the grade in the Championship. We need to bully and rough teams up in the final quarter and cause “carnage”, although I was thinking somebody perhaps nearer 6ft 4”, Keifer Moore couldn’t get into the Forest Green Rovers team when we signed him for 10k, in Div 1 he ripped it up!!!

Jackson is too lightweight as a number 9, and Drinnan struggles to just make 6ft and has not scored a single goal in the Swedish 2nd tier.

Roberts should move on as he really isn’t going to make it and is out of contract in the summer.
Blues and Swindon Linked with Halifax Striker
at 00:19:21

He is not going to cost the earth, and quite frankly if he proves to be an awkward physical presence that just helps us get out of this league like an Akinfenwa then he can move on if he doesn’t make the grade in the Championship. We need to bully and rough teams up in the final quarter and cause “carnage”, although I was thinking somebody perhaps nearer 6ft 4”, Keifer Moore couldn’t get into the Forest Green Rovers team when we signed him for 10k, in Div 1 he ripped it up!!!

Jackson is too lightweight as a number 9, and Drinnan struggles to just make 6ft and has not scored a single goal in the Swedish 2nd tier.

Roberts should move on as he really isn’t going to make it and is out of contract in the summer.
Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Ipswich Town- Match Report
at 20:56:13

Not taking anything away from Norwood’s excellent finish, we do seem to struggle up front, no excuses today as a number of good balls played into the box. Some dilly dallying around when we got close. Jackson - again can’t fault the guys energy however, his first touch is very poor and still doesn’t look an out and out centre forward to me.

Judge had a good game but quite frankly about bl00dy time he put in a worthy performance.

Norris definitely has to take the blame again for the goal, but the defence has to be more courageous and Do not allow the opposition to bully us.

I can see how 3-4-3 can be an effective formation for us especially when KVY returns, but before getting carried away with a performance that looked good apart from the finishing touches, Wycombe always concede a lot of possession according to Sky they have one of the lower possession stats in the league but have been making the most of their chances and look to bully the defence with a physical approach - so how much did they allow us to look good today?

Off the back of a good run, todays result would Have Otherwise looked To have been a good one, however, our ability not to punish further or see the game out only continues to highlight that we miss the ruthless element to our game.

A tall physical target man is the key missing link.
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