Its been almost two weeks since the 3-0 drubbing of Hull City and its left the fans wanting more. Positivity is brimming throughout the club and the renewed optimism Garry Monk has instilled has been a breath of fresh air. While the feel good factor seems to have returned, us Bluenoses know it`s a long, long road.
Saturday`s clash against Ipswich Town is another a must win fixture. Good Friday’s Championship fixtures saw Barnsley throw away a lead to draw at home to Bristol City keeping them just one point above Blues. Kicking off 24 hours later than fellow relegation rivals can add pressure but at least Blues are fully aware of what is required. It`s never ideal having to rely on other results so Monk’s men must keep plugging away.
The announcement yesterday of Mick McCarthy`s departure at the end of the season is a timely one. Whether it is be a positive or negative outcome for Blues is up for debate. The relationship between the manager and the Ipswich fans has made his position untenable in the eyes of many although his relationship with his players is thought to be rather strong. His pending departure could well stem a reaction from his players even though they find themselves with nothing but pride to play for this season. However, David McGoldrick, a rumoured January target for Blues, will be missing for the Tractor Boys when they visit St Andrews.
Monk has echoed the importance of focus. He talks of ‘focussing on improving ourselves’ and to have ‘confidence in the ability within the squad’. Following the Hull match, it provides the players with a real platform to progress and prove in front of the home faithful that it wasn`t just a flash in the pan.
As ever, Ipswich will provide a tough opposition, although, the return to full fitness of David Davis and the timely miraculous recovery of Jonathon Grounds (even though tomorrow may come too soon) may well provide the right balance the squad had been missing. Monk may have some tough decisions to make. Grounds’ eventual return provides the option to move Maxime Colin back to his favoured right back berth – but Wes Harding will be fighting to keep his place following his impressive display on his full league debut. It will no doubt be interesting to see how we line-up come Saturday afternoon.
While a 1-0 defeat at Ipswich opened this year`s campaign on a sour note, our recent home record against the Tractor Boys is hard to ignore. Blues have lost only once in seventeen at home to Ipswich but we know there are no guarantees. Let`s hope come Saturday evening Blues will no longer be in the relegation zone and leading into Tuesday`s huge game against Bolton with the same buoyancy.
Article by George Yiend