Ipswich Town 0 Wolves 1

There was a time when getting the deck chairs out was a sign of complacency.

But after a well publicised week of fun in the sun, Wolves were all business under the clouds at Portman Road.

If anything last weekend’s limp defeat to Forest now looks like the holiday with normal service so comfortably resumed.

The vitamin D certainly did the trick for our wingbacks who combined to finish a flowing pass and move sequence with the game’s only goal.

They weren’t the only ones with a notable spring in their step. Jota and, much later in the game, Bonatini were two others obviously refreshed after soaking in a few rays, but in truth the whole team looked better for the experience.

The only disappointment is that this comprehensive away performance wasn’t given the resounding scoreline it warranted.

Bartosz Bialkowski made many fine saves, denying Douglas, Bonatini, Enobakhare and Jota (several times) when a second goal felt inevitable.

Better decision making could have opened the floodgates too with Jota in particular guilty of fudging what looked a simple lay off to give Costa a tap in.

Nuno despatched a fluid front three with Cavaleiro, Costa and Jota all taking turns up top and that extra pace in the final third caused Ispwich problems. It’s a compelling alternative to playing a traditional number nine.

Just as important was the selection of Alfred N’diaye who benefited from a minor injury to Saiss. He was colossal alongside Neves and his powerful presence introduced athleticism we’ve missed through the middle. Now could be his time to hold down a regular place.

With the chances passing us by the defence had to withstand the predictable late bombardment. Ruddy nearly gifted the Tractor Boys a point they never looked like getting when he came for a long ball and failed to claim, but recovered with a smart stop.

That was a minor blip in another afternoon where Wolves were so well organised out of possession they were only ever vulnerable to mistakes and misfortune.

With the 12 point gap re-established, temporarily at least, the same it would seem applies to the season.

But with Nuno still preaching focus, while the rest of us dream of glory, I doubt we’ll be talking about deck chairs again until May.

Ipswich Town Vs Wolves Preview

It’s pretty low to blame a bad result on the pitch, but I’m going to do it anyway.

As soon as the game kicked off last Saturday, you could see it was heavy under foot. A few passes held up and it was obvious it effected the team’s fluency.

Yes, it’s the same for both sides and please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying – Forest deserved the win and were comfortably the better side.

But inevitably when the opposition bank up you’ve got to move the ball quickly to create chances and the pitch made that trickier than it’s been all season at Molineux.

Wolves have been successful because they’ve been able to adapt to whatever the opposition have thrown at them. The playing surface in our last two league games has been a bit of a leveller in my opinion.

Just saying.

Ipswich

Portman Road is normally pretty lush, so I’m already in confident mood. But jokes aside, this is a tough one when you’re trying to bounce back.

Expect space to be at premium. Assume little to no time on the ball. Be prepared to scrap it out and take your chances.

The Tractor Boys are nestled in midtable, but just 6 points outside the play-offs. I think Mick is swimming against the tide a bit looking at the teams above them, but you never know.

If they do finish closer to the top, it will be because of their home record. 8 wins from 14 matches is as good as anyone (apart from Wolves).

They made life very difficult in the reverse fixture in December, but I think they’ll have to show more adventure as an attacking force at home and that could be to our advantage.

Wolves

I can’t fault Nuno for his team selection against Forest because I would have picked the same eleven.

And if a week in Marbella has revitalised everyone, it’s tough to consider wholesale change to a side that’s continually delivered.

Leo needs to get back among the goals sooner rather than later. I do expect another striker to come in before January is out.

I’d also like to see another midfielder too if possible. N’Diaye is an able deputy but I don’t want to rely on the potential of Morgan Gibbs-White to close the deal if injuries and suspensions pile up.

Ipswich

We haven’t experienced back-to-back league defeats this season. There, I’ve said it. But even tempting fate, I don’t think we’ll be derailed again.

Derby and Villa aren’t playing until Tuesday and Cardiff miss a week due to the FA Cup, so it’s an opportunity to put more daylight between ourselves and the chasers.

I’ll back us to do that, just.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

* Just a quick note guys. I’ve seen a few people uploading questionable images in the comment section. Please do respect the whole forum. I allow all comments on without moderation, but will begin holding them back and may even remove the picture upload option entirely if it’s being used in a way that I deem inappropriate. I know it’s all in good humour and of course it’s subjective but lets keep it comfortably away from Tabloid territory. Please email if you want further clarification. 

Wolves 1 Ipswich Town 0

Another game gone, another ghost exorcised.

The Dickensian Mick McCarthy, like a ghost of Christmas past, back to haunt us with his grim brand of pragmatism and lovable banter in the press conference.

Good old Mick. Having stalked the touchline next to his impotent sidekick Connor, he was to fashion an unlikely result from his Unlikely Lads before casting a crooked smile to thoughts of a £15 million holding midfielder. ‘World’s gone chuffing mad,’ he’d observe with a wry wink, delivered in obligatory Yorkshire gimmick.

Fuck off Mick.

Like so many scripts we’d conjured in our heads before kick-off, Nuno saw straight through it and dealt with the nightmare scenario with the ruthless efficiency to which we’re accustomed. A moment of magic from a bloke who’d have never seen the light of day under a bygone era and a general sense of calm, as we danced around Mick’s customary muck and nettles.

He’ll doubtless fester over our embarrassment of riches as he digests his turkey and Brussels sprouts, without giving a second thought to a quite laughably biased referee who gave his side most decisions. Maybe he was disappointed at his side’s play acting and cheating in the rare moments they did attack, with two players diving over themselves in feeble attempts to win penalties.

Not the brand of Corinthian spirit you’d associate with Top-Bloke-Mick, who at least proved that he can evolve. If Martyn Waghorn was called Diogo Jota then you sense he’d have reminded us all of such moments. ‘Not on my watch’, he’d growl.

Thankfully, we eventually got one over the old dinosaur and we move on to the next game, where Nuno will already be searching for more solutions.

With five minutes remaining it might all have been so different here, after Mick’s last throw of the dice almost reaped dividends. David McGoldrick almost justified one or two intakes of breath when introduced to the fray late on. He played a neat one-two and was in on goal. For a split second, an image of a fickle old man and a flying clipboard flashed across our minds, before Romain Saiss appeared from nowhere to intercept majestically.

It was a moment every bit as impressive as Cavaleiro’s in the first half, even if it fails to make the post-match highlights reel.

Having been starved of quality for so long, such contributions are appreciated all the more by a fan-base that knows that they’re not always easy to come by. Heck, under last season’s manager he wouldn’t have even played! It was a tackle quite emblematic of side which is laden with obvious quality, but underpinned by exertion. Ryan Bennett – another unsung hero – and another example of individual conquest.

Add it all up and the end result is barely believable. In real money it’s 54 points and 10 clear of third place, despite a selling-your-soul narrative that our detractors still portray.

But as a wise old ghost of Christmas past once said: ‘Opinions are like backsides — we’ve all got them but it’s not always wise to air them.’

Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

With our former boss back in town tomorrow, it was fitting to read that extract from Dave Edwards’ book about the day Mick McCarthy was sacked.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but pulling the trigger in mid-February without a replacement in mind was lunacy.

The club got what they deserved for that decision.

There was a great piece from Tim Nash in the immediate aftermath about the transfer targets Mick identified and was blanket refused the previous summer. The gist was the club wouldn’t loosen the purse strings so it was always onto ‘Option B’.

Those Option B players were rarely any better than those we already had, hence why it felt like the team were treading water.

He had his shortcomings of course and I think he was naive in how he managed relations with supporters. But he’s a good manager, I don’t care what anyone says.

Ipswich

If the football isn’t attractive, it has to be effective. That’s the root cause of the problem Mick has wherever he goes. When results go south the natives soon get restless.

He’s been in Suffolk for five years now and for most of that time they’ve been closer to the top than the bottom. Not awful if we’re being honest for a club with modest resources.

I thought he might walk in the summer but instead he was given license to do a bit of business and they look decent again.

No surprise he’s gone for proven grafters like Garner and Waghorn, but they’ve performed. A win tomorrow could take them back into the top six.

Unlike recent seasons, they’re not built on defensive stability. Far from it actually. The 32 they’ve conceded is the most of anyone in the top 10. But only Wolves have netted more than their 37.

Surely not a nil nil then?

Wolves

A few people have been making noises about the team looking jaded, but given that they haven’t played for over a week, I don’t see a reason to make changes tomorrow.

If Douglas still isn’t back, Vinagre is a more than able deputy. You could start Costa and give one of the front three a rest, but I think it’s worth holding that card back for now.

There are three games in a week from Boxing Day, so that’s when rotation might be worth consideration but I’m not sure making several changes now does much to freshen things up.

Predictions

Worth remembering we still haven’t beaten Ipswich since Mick took over at Portman Road.

We’ll never have a better chance than with this team.

Much will depend on how they approach the game tactically, whether they sit off like Sunderland or press high.

In either scenario though they’ll have to play very well to beat us and I don’t think it will happen.

3-1.

Up The Wolves!

Ipswich Town 0 Wolves 0

When you’re celebrating a point at Ipswich Town – while frantically checking the results of Wigan Athletic, Burton Albion and their implications for the bottom three – then you know your season has plunged to new depths.

Worse still is the distinct possibility that our one shining light won’t be regarded as a sacred cow from here on in, as the presumable plan is to grind our way to 50 points with a team full of donkeys.

If this Jackett-esque pragmatism is what we should come to expect between now and the end of the season, then I’m not sure I can stomach much more and frankly, we may as well have kept Kenny in the first place?

Talk about running to stand still, as epitomised by the hopeless David Edwards, who isn’t so much a first team regular these days, but a nailed on, first-on-the-teamsheet starter with the captain’s band around his flailing arm.

Positives from last night, whilst listening to Mike Taylor on BBC WM, was an impressive outing by Romain Saiss, which shouldn’t come as a surprise being as every right-minded fan was calling for his inclusion for months.

Ben Marshall would appear to be improving game-by-game, with the ex-Blackburn man a coat of paint away from scoring for a second successive match. And a clean sheet is obviously good news, albeit against a side light on ability and attacking intent. The inclusion of Hause must surely be a factor here.

On paper, our team looks absolutely wretched, particularly without the one player that justifies an admission fee. On the pitch, it is similarly foul to look at, with George Saville crowbarred in at full back, Batth generally labouring and the aforementioned Edwards stretching our never-ending paradigm of mediocrity to a barely comprehendible timeframe. Meanwhile, the likes of Conor Coady, Lee Evans, Weimann and co loiter on the peripheries with minimal intent.

But the time for inquests must wait for another day. A squad given a £30 million shot in the arm is doing its inimitable worst to get out of this division and while results like this might eek them towards the lofty position of 20th, the accompanying performances might not.

Ipswich Town Vs Wolves Preview

Where did it all go wrong?

After victory at Anfield and winning so convincingly at Barnsley a few days later, even the most pessimistic among us wouldn’t have foreseen five straight league defeats.

Paul Lambert is trying to remain upbeat but when you’re on the wrong end of the scoreline every week words start to sound a bit hollow.

We’re desperate for a win but even a scrappy point would help turn the tide. We could do with one of those tonight before hopefully doing what’s necessary against Rotherham on Saturday.

I just hope the players are feeling more confident than the rest of us.

Ipswich

Things looked like they were turning sour for Mick in Suffolk, but his team have dug in lately to put points on the board and elevate the Tractor Boys back towards midtable.

It couldn’t be more trademark McCarthy, grinding out a 1-0 at Villa Park and five draws to rack up one of the season’s uglier unbeaten runs.

I said it prior to Reading but that’s exactly what Wolves must do – fight and scrap for every single available point. We just haven’t done that well enough.

Goals have been a problem for Ipswich and they’re among the lowest scorers in the league. Losing talisman Daryl Murphy to Newcastle late on in the summer transfer window must have been a hammer blow.

Their form at Portman Road hasn’t been that impressive this season, with the atmosphere strained at times so hopefully Wolves can get on top and capitalise on any lingering unrest.

Wolves

Lambert ripped up the team and started again at Reading. I agreed with most of the changes apart from deploying George Saville at left back.

Here’s one possible lineup, but anyone could realistically start given that pretty much every player has had an opportunity in these five matches and not done the business.

Ivan Cavaleiro is back from injury but I’m not sure this is the type of environment he’d thrive in with Ipswich likely to make the game compact and physical.

Paul Lambert

Predictions

We should have enough to go to a very mediocre Ipswich and get a positive result but hard not to fear a sixth straight defeat.

Four points from the next two games should be the minimum aim though, so I’ll back us to get a draw tonight.

Just about.

1-1.

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