Nine Games Left But How Many Points More?
Manager Mick McCarthy has never been short of confidence. In fact, some of us may say that is the reason why he both liked and despised.
Mick McCarthy says his managerial record is the reason for his longevity at Portman Road and not owner Marcus Evans` patience with his managers and there is an element of truth in this.
Evans was not patient with Jim Magilton I seem to recall - nor was he especially patient with Roy Keane but it was easy to understand why.
Yet, as the season grinds to a halt, how patient can Evans afford to be if we continue to fall further down the table?
Our last nine matches are not easy but then again, as McCarthy often tells us, there is no such a thing as an easy game in this league and in this respect I tend to agree.
Here are my predictions on how these last nine games will map out but if you disagree, then you are most welcome to give us your views too.
Saturday 18th March: away to Cardiff City in 13th on 48 points.
Interestingly, the Welsh club have drawn their last two matches 1-1 and that should be a familiar scoreline as far as Town are concerned and they have drawn their last two home games to Birmingham and Fulham. I think Town will go down 2-0 mainly because we are playing so poorly at the moment and they are due a home victory. (0)
Saturday 1st April: at home to Birmingham in 17th on 44 points.
Gianfranco Zola is having a torrid time of it after he was appointed to replace Gary Rowlett and they have gone backwards ever since. They too will be desperate for points but I see Town sneaking it 2-1. (3)
Tuesday 4th April: at home to Wigan Athletic in 23rd on 34 points.
Another challenging game at Portman Road against a team that is desperate to stay in this division. I predict a 1-1 draw (1)
Saturday 8th April: away to Fulham in 7th place on 61 points.
This will not be easy and the home side's form is excellent just now with two wins and two draws - including that 1-3 win at Newcastle! I fear the worst and think Town will go down by the same scoreline at Craven Cottage. (0)
Friday 14th: away to Burton Albion in 19th on 41 points.
At home they are hard to beat and have drawn three and won one of their last four league games including that 1-0 win over Forest.
I can see another draw here and it will probably end 1-1 (1)
Monday 17th April: at home to Newcastle in 1st on 77 points.
A lot might depend on whether they have wrapped up the Championship by then? At the moment Brighton are on the same points total so this could go to the wire and if it does expect Ipswich to lose this one comfortably 0-3! (0)
Saturday 22nd April: away to Rotherham in 24th on 17 points.
Once again, if they are not already relegated then they will have improved discernibly by then and would be fighting for their lives. This is unlikely to be the case so I predict a win for Town 4-2 and three valuable points! (3)
Saturday 29th April: at home to Sheffield Wed in 6th on 62 points.
I think the play-off battle will go to the wire so I expect this to be no easy match. I think Town might get a draw though so I predict a 1-1 draw. (1)
Sunday 7th May: away to Nottingham Forest in 20th on 40 points.
I suspect that Forest will be fighting for their lives right to the end of this campaign and if this is indeed the case this may be the match that saves them from the drop! I predict a 3-2 win to the home side and another sorry away loss for the Blues. (0)
I make that 9 points from 9 games which is far from satisfactory but on a par with most of our season to date sadly and it would leave us on 54 points after 46 games. Is it good enough?
Well, we will just have to wait and see whether Marcus Evans pulls the plug on the McCarthy regime, if these premonitions get much closer to being realised?
Frank Weston - Editor of Vital Ipswich