Middle Of The Road: Town's Third Quarter Report
How time flies; Ipswich Town have now played out three quarters of the 2010/11 season, so we thought it would be a good time to get an update on where fans think Town will finish the season now.
It's been a real yo-yo of a season for the Blues. Expectations started low but were buoyed by an excellent start, only for a spectacular collapse to send Town plummeting towards the League One trapdoor. A quick game of managerial musical chairs later and things are looking a little bit rosier, with Paul Jewell's boys riding out the storm to leave themselves fairly comfortable in mid-table with 10 games left to go.
So whereabouts will Ipswich finish now? Here's what you had to say in our latest poll:
12% - Automatic Promotion
34% - Playoffs
41% - Mid-Table
10% - Lower Half of Table
3% - Relegation Battle
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Reality looks to be sinking in for the majority by this point, with 41% predicting a solid mid-table finish. With the Blues having been sat pretty much halfway between the playoffs and the relegation zone for quite some time now, this looks like the most likely outcome. Only 13% overall were more downbeat, suggesting that Ipswich will end up either in the lower reaches or scrambling for safety; perhaps a sensibly cautious approach given that Town's Championship status is not secure yet. Optimism isn't dead however, with a healthy 34% still clinging to the hope that one good run might lift Town into the playoff places - whilst 12% actually said the Blues could yet sneak automatic promotion. (I'll have some of what they're smoking, please!!)
Surprisingly, the results are remarkably similar to those taken a quarter of the way through the season, when most predicted a mid-table finish depite Ipswich faring markedly better in the standings at the time. Back then, exactly the same proportions voted for mid-table and the playoffs, though there was greater fear of a relegation battle at that point. Indeed, expectations of a playoff place have remained steady all season, with the same 34% having predicted a top six finish when the Blues were struggling at the halfway point of the season over Christmas. It says much for the recovery under Paul Jewell however that back then, in the last weeks under Keane, 45% overall were envisaging the Blues stumbling around the lower end of the table or worse.
Mid-table mediocrity seems the most likely final desination for Town therefore, though based on last week's poll, things could be looking up in the near future. QPR finished in mid-table last season but have gone on to soar this campaign, and with Jewell at the helm, plenty seem hopeful that the Blues might follow in their footsteps...
This week's poll: 'Should Ipswich try to sign Jimmy Bullard and Kieron Dyer permanently in the summer?' (See right-hand column to place your vote)
Do you agree that Ipswich are destined to finish mid-table, or are you still confident that the playoffs are within reach? On the other hand, are you not counting your chickens about Championship safety just yet? Share your views using the comment box below.
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