Dark White Horses?
Considering the regularity with which they used to find themselves playing the end-of-season lottery, a place in the Championship playoffs is now long overdue for Ipswich. Town haven't featured in playoff competition since 2005, and with the exception of a one point deficit in 2007/08, they haven't even come close since. Indeed, with some of the form displayed during the Roy Keane era, a downward turn looked all the more likely.
However, with Paul Jewell now at the helm and a number of shrewd signings over the summer, many pundits have been tipping the Blues to be dark horses for the playoffs this season. A comfortable opening day win over Bristol City added to that optimism, and despite suffering defeat to Hull City this weekend, there is still plenty of hope that the long wait for a top six finish - or better yet, promotion - could finally be over come May 2012.
So where do Ipswich fans think the club will finish this season? Here's how our readers responded in this week's poll:
21% - Automatic Promotion
34% - Playoffs
34% - Upper Mid-Table
2% - Lower Mid-Table
9% - Relegation
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Whether the 9% predicting relegation were just pessimists or a few rogue Norwich fans is difficult to tell! On the whole however, it seems many are backing Town's 'dark horses' tag, with the vast majority of fans foreseeing something of an improvement on last season's 13th place finish.
The biggest proportions - each at around a third of the total polled - were shared between those fancying a playoff place and those predicting a finish in the upper end of mid-table. Meanwhile 21% were optimistic enough to tip Town for an automatic promotion place, though whether such ambitions have any realistic grounding is highly debatable.
Even so, it is notable that over half of the votes were placed in favour of a top six finish or better. Despite the last two seasons, it seems there is still a healthy dose of optimism around. All that remains to be seen is, can Jewell's Blues deliver?
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This week's poll: 'What formation do you think Ipswich Town should use?' (See right-hand column to view the list and place your vote)
Where do you think Ipswich Town will finish this season? What have you made to the start of the campaign, and do you think a top six finish is realistic? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.
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