Anybody could tell you that Ipswich Town’s 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Derby on Saturday was a vital result. Defeat or another draw from the team and the alarm bells may of been ringing frantically at Portman Road, but 15 games into the 09/10 season and the Suffolk outfit have finally put a win on the board. Although they remain at the foot of the Championship table, fans danced in jubilation after the final whistle had gone at the weekend; and this hard fought one goal victory will lead them on to piecing together some decent form.
Ipswich’s poor season has surprised quite a lot of people this season. Many people backed Roy Keane to take the club on to the next level and bring success, but quite the opposite has occurred in Keano’s first full campaign in charge. The team has struggled both at the back and front this season, holding the second worst goal difference in the league with only Plymouth keeping them off the bottom spot by one goal. Counago, Walters, Priskin and Stead have accumulated seven goals between them this season and the players at the back have often lacked concentration when under pressure.
Keane certainly has had backing from the board and fans alike. Many other boards would have dismissed a manager who had failed to get a win in 14 games; particularly with the amount of financial backing Keane was given. But it appears that Ipswich are looking at the bigger picture and see this season as part of a jigsaw that will hopefully be completed with the club in the Premiership at some point. Fans have often said that they trust Keane and have kept a lot of optimism throughout the rough period. And why not, its obvious when looking at the clubs squad that they have a lot of quality, including a lot of players Keane knows well and who have a lot of Championship experience.
And I am sure the fans have no doubt that their next fixture away to Reading is just as important, if not more, than the Derby game. Reading are also flirting with the bottom of the table, but managed to beat Coventry convincingly 3-1 and although Coventry also have poor form, nothing should be taken away from their victory. The Madjeski stadium has seemed more like a ruin than a fortress this season, with only 1 goal scored by the club at home in the last 5 games there. Reading must also be aware that although Ipswich just picked up their first victory, they have only failed to score once away from home this season.
But after such a great victory on the road why wouldn’t Reading players feel that Saturday’s game is the perfect opportunity for them to give the home fans something to celebrate about? Over coming a team like Coventry by a comfortable margin will give them all the information they need to let them know that they can come out on top against the teams in a similar situation to themselves. They will look to the hungry Grezgorz Rasiak to fire them to victory on Saturday, as he appears to be one of the only players at the club who has a finishing touch. In their last home game the club had seventeen shots against Leicester and ended up losing 1-0; manager Brendan Rodgers has no doubt attempted to solve their goal shyness.