Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A Week of Two Halves: Ipswich Town vs Northampton Town (Carling Cup)

Its seems that Town's Barmy Army is once again divided.

One half are angry that Paul Jewell played a second choice team last night, effectively dumping us out of the one ray of joy we had last year - the Carling Cup.

The other are relieved, if bothered at all, that we don't have to worry about losing players to injury and exhaustion in 'The Mickey Mouse Cup'.

So which side of the fence are you sitting on?

Was PJ right to make NINE changes from the side that made such a good first impression at Ashton Gate?

In the immediate moments after the game on Tuesday night, it seemed that fans were angry. Presumably, as they were walking down the Narwich Road, the first reaction of many was to ridicule the team for being rubbish. 'Premier League, you're having a laugh', said one.

Understandably, they were angry: they'd made the effort to attend this low profile game to see their new look Ipswich side, but they weren't even graced with the prescence of Chopra or Bowyer. Others argued that PJ should have played the strongest side to help them gel for the Championship. As my new favourite Town Tweep @rockchickbrooke argued, 'It's only the second game of the season - they can't be tired yet'.

I can, of course, see their point. Nothing angered me more during the reign of Roy Keane than the swapping and changing of players in the first team. The lack of continuity on the pitch reflected directly the lack of continuity on the team sheet. Has PJ made the same mistake?

But how important is the Carling Cup to us as a Championship side? Barnsley, Coventry, Derby, Hull and Portsmouth were all knocked out in the first round too - and you wonder how many fans will be relieved about that. A club cannot survive in this league forever, every single one is aiming to prosper in the Premier League. It is not possible to go on year after year as a mediocre mid table club. So you have to make a choice sometimes. PJ has clearly chosen the league.

And think of it this way: 8,000 fans attended on Tuesday night. Not even a third full. If the game didn't mean enough for people to come out, why should PJ rate it highly enough to risk our first team players?

I'm not criticising, it would be hypocritical of me to do so seeing as I couldn't make it either. Nor am I belittling the competition itself, I loved the great run we had in the cup last year and truly belive it is a great tournament for clubs outside the top flite.

But, if you'd have said to me last year: Good cup run or top six in the league? I'd have said top six before you even got to the end of your sentence. We need Premierhip football, we are starting to look like we may even deserve it and risking our growing side in the cup is not going to get us there. What would be the point in them 'gelling' if PJ ended up having to chose between me, my nan and my goldfish to play against Hull?

So, I'm firmly on the PJ side of the fence this week and I look forward to seeing how he moves the team on this weekend.

What I would repeat though are the words of my ever wise Dad and all knowing Town Tweep @Seanie_S: 'The game showed that the fringe players are not good enough'.

'Fringe' is a word that I've not really come across at Ipswich for a while. Perhaps because we're used to having such a small squad that every player is vital to the side. But it is a valid point - if and when we get to the point of injuries and bookings we are going to need something more to fall back on.

But panic not because this is clearly what Jewell is thinking too - he's made it quite clear that his shopping trolley isn't full yet and I doubt it will be until the transfer window tills are shut down and locked up.

I continue to wait with eagerness to find out what this year brings for the Super Blues and me, I got a feeling it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

*Quck note to everyone to please stay safe over the coming days. Was so pleased to see the riots didn't make it to Suffolk, but if they are affecting you we'll all be thinking of you.

1 comment:

dc96 said...

The only thing I was disappointed with were a couple of the performances from individuals who had the opportunity to impress - Peters and Smith. Thought at times we played good football and some of the criticism on twitter of people like Scotland was over the top. If Chops had played and got injured PJ would have been criticised for risking him.