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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Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 0

To steal a quote from a famous football pools winner from yesteryear, it’s time to spend, spend, spend!

After watching the leaden-footed, one-paced and excruciatingly average Coady, Evans, Edwards, Mason, Saville and Wallace, the one saving grace from last night’s 0-0 draw (aside from the point itself) is that our mega-rich owners will continue to splash the cash.

Before long, performances like this won’t be portrayed as a perverse sign of virtue to which we should be grateful, but an unsightly stain on a season which will soon be washed away.

This draw, and the four points we have accumulated beforehand, can only be seen as bonus results which we can’t have realistically expected with these Ordinary Boys of last season, whose true capabilities were laid bare in front of Walter Zenga.

Aside from some flitting chinks of light from Teixeira and Bodvarsson ahead of him, this was a pretty dark performance against Mick McCarthy’s brutes, who would surely have won the game had the old goat actually pressed for a winner.

Thankfully, he was as pragmatic as he usually was in the home dug-out, presumably ‘wiping his gob and taking the point’ in tiresome Yorkshire shtick.

A narrow pitch, a gargantuan, feral away side with no end product and the majority of last season’s flops made for a truly forgettable spectacle, where Ipswich were denied what looked a legitimate opener and were rarely threatened, aside from Bodvarsson’s weak penalty and an unlikely late Costa strike to force a save for the photographers.

At the back, Danny Batth was magnificent and marshalled his troops well, with Kortney Hause slotting alongside effectively. The full backs of Doherty and Iorfa also coped well and can be pleased with their evenings’ work. Meanwhile, Ikeme was decisive when dealing with the many crosses and set plays.

The problems started in front of them. Joe Mason may as well have been sat in the stands with a clap banner, Lee Evans was ponderous, Dave Edwards headless and Conor Coady was, dare I say, talentless.

Coming away with a point probably felt like winning the pools.

Remembering that Moxey and Morgan have gone makes me feel like a billionaire.

Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

Something tells me this game won’t follow the same pattern as Saturday.

I certainly can’t envisage Ipswich playing neat passes along their own 18-yard box and inviting Wolves to press.

No, this will be a much different challenge for Walter Zenga to navigate against a more purpose-built Championship outfit.

And thankfully the Italian knows what to expect, stating yesterday, “We prepare for a game against a strong team, a physical team, who know how to play and never give up.”

That sums it up nicely.

Ipswich

Ipswich logoWe’ve yet to beat Mick McCarthy since he left Wolves and took over at Portman Road. The Tractor Boys always seem to find an extra 5% at Molineux and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

As always, Mick had some interesting comments in his own press conference:

“I’ve seen both their [Wolves] games. They played against Rotherham, they were 2-0 down and came back with a man short and drew two-all.

“I watched the game against Reading this morning. It’s not suddenly changed, they’ve not got loads of new players in. They’ve got two or three but it’s predominantly the players we played against last season.

“So there’s not been that many changes, I think it’s hard to just turn it around and just put all new players in, that would be a recipe for disaster.

“We’re seeing that up at Newcastle, I guess, with the best Championship players, seven or eight of them have gone in and they’ve lost two games, which seems incredible.

“Wolves have had a good start, I thought they played well against Reading, but somebody said they’ve made a bid of £16 million for somebody from Portugal [Benfica’s Anderson Talisca].

“If that’s true, I don’t recognise that one. Even in the Premier League that money wasn’t there when I was manager!”

And on Walter Zenga?

“He was a top, top class goalkeeper. He’s had a lot of jobs in management and I think he’s got a great job there, a great club.

“I thought it was a great club and a great job when I had it and if he’s in the Championship and has a pot of money to spend, if he can get that place going again it’s a fabulous club.”

Wolves

It will be interesting to see if Walter Zenga makes any changes after a good team performance at the weekend. Will he be a fan of rotation or even feel he has the players to do it? I’d assume the same team though.

Wolves team for Ipswich

At times it was quite hard to pick out where certain players were operating on Saturday with Mason and Teixiera in particular popping up all over the place.

I quite like that because it makes the team more difficult to read, but we’ll see how it works against more battle hardened opposition. Or maybe Walter will change things completely? Who knows?

I don’t think new signing Prince Oniangue is eligible to make his debut but when he is available, I look forward to seeing how he’s utilised. Is there a chance he’ll play at the back?

Walter Zenga

Predictions

Definitely sitting on the fence with a 1-1 tonight and that would suit me just fine. Five points from the opening three games is a solid return.

We played very well against Reading and without question Ipswich can be got at. Their limp defeat at Brentford on Saturday proves that.

But Mick never makes it easy and on our narrower pitch, their compact system will be even harder to breakdown.

So draw for me, but hoping to once more be pleasantly surprised.

Up The Wolves!

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Wolves 0 Ipswich Town 0

As we were leaving the ground yesterday a friend of mine commented that the Italians would have called this the perfect game.

Wolves Ipswich

I somehow doubt the 20,000 or so broken souls clambering for the exits felt quite so charitable.

This was a pig ugly game of football played out between two sides who’ve massively regressed in the year since the fixture was last contested.

For Wolves, the fifth Molineux nil nil of the season was decidedly more nil nil than the Brighton, MK Dons, Burnley and Blues stalemates that preceded it.

Defensively yes, it was pleasing to see another shutout and the significance of that certainly shouldn’t be overlooked.

But when your best and only moment of attacking prowess is orchestrated by your left back (as it has been for several months) you know there’s something gravely wrong.

Indeed, either side of Matt Doherty’s smart interchange and shot that almost won the day, there was nothing but two endless deserts of huff, puff and misplaced passes.

So why was it so bad?

First and foremost I think we would all agree Mick McCarthy was never going to engage us in a free flowing, blow-for-blow contest of exhibition football.

Even last season with our three-pronged attacking super force Ipswich shut things down, making it nigh on impossible for our best and brightest to operate.

They smothered the game similarly this time and with a front three of Sigurdarson, Zyro and Helan a more palatable outcome always seemed fanciful.

All three of those players are willing but limited in their individual talents and therefore unlikely to ever thrive as a combination.

I’ve never been an advocate of Siggy playing out wide and his inclusion over the likes of Byrne (not even in the squad) or even young Conor Hunte never seemed anything close to good judgment.

James Henry’s return will improve our short term prospects, but his half time introduction failed to lift the team as Ipswich took a firmer grip on proceedings.

The midfield trio also failed to shine, once again calling into question why Kevin McDonald isn’t even being summoned from the bench?

Regardless of the reasons he’s out of the side, when you’re staring down the barrel of another shutout it seems odd not to use your most creative player.

Kenny Jackett can’t have ignored the sarcastic applause and chants of ‘boring’ that reverberated around the South Bank as this agricultural snore fest rumbled towards its inevitable climax.

In a fitting tribute to our season, everyone just couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Wolves Vs Ipswich Town Preview

I think some of you felt I went overboard in my assessment of the draw against Burnley.

Ipswich Wolves

But given how disappointing this season has been, was it not encouraging to see us stand to toe-to-toe – and at times out maneuver – the league leaders?

Considering that we’ve ripped apart last season’s team, started from scratch and fielded an eleven primarily made up of academy graduates, I think the performance justified the praise.

And I also think in the last month we’ve seen that even stripped down to the bare bones, we can still field a team capable of competing with anyone in the league on a game-to-game basis.

Even if we assume there will be no dosh to spend over the summer, with the players we’ve still got to comeback and the potential of what’s already out on the pitch, there is at least some cause for optimism, right?

Ipswich

Ipswich logoVilla fans have been turning their noses up this week at the idea of Mick McCarthy being their next boss. Personally, I think they should crawl on their hands and knees to Portman Road and beg him to take over.

For all his shortcomings, he’s once again over-performing this season keeping a low-budget Ipswich team on the coattails of the play-offs entering the home straight.

It looks like five teams pursuing two places and although Derby and Sheffield Wednesday have the deepest squads on paper, I would never bet against the Tractor Boys.

Mind you, losing to Rotherham and Cardiff prior to the international break will have been painful for different reasons and must be considered major setbacks.

Darryl Murphy will sit this one out after getting injured on Ireland duty, which is good news for Wolves given his previous record. That could just tip the scales in our favour.

Wolves

Poor old Jed Wallace looked a dead cert to play every game between now and the end of the season, but will now struggle to get any minutes after doing himself a mischief at Turf Moor. His absence will likely force the only change.

Wolves for Ipswich

Joe Gallen talked last week about Burnley being a ‘now team’ whereas Wolves were a team that would continue to develop and get better. I kind of buy into that but I’d like to see a few more ‘now players’ to supplement the youthful exuberance.

Kevin McDonald would be one so will be interesting to see if Kenny Jackett throws him a bone tomorrow. James Henry is also back in contention after training all week, so he may feature, which would be handy as he’s scored a couple of times against Ipswich in recent years.

The gaffer

Predictions

Last season’s draw that ultimately ended our play-off aspirations was a really turgid affair. Ipswich did a great job of keeping things tight and repelling the Sako, Dicko, Afobe wave.

They’ll experience a much different Wolves side tomorrow, without that dynamic attacking flair but probably more comfortable duking it out all over the pitch.

I think a draw is the most likely outcome, but I’ll back us to edge it.

2-1

Up The Wolves!