A lot of Ipswich fans (me included) had given up hope of the team making the play-offs and for most of the season the Tractor Boys have been not quite good enough to make the top six.
However, I have to admit that after seeing back to back wins over Brighton and Derby I can’t help but feel I was wrong to completely write off a top six finish.
Whilst it has been great for the fans to just enjoy those recent wins it is also interesting to delve deeper and look at why these positive results have started to occur.
It became apparent at the end of last season that Mick McCarthy was not the type of manager to get nervous, in fact he seemed to relish the intensity of those high pressure games. Additionally, the Ipswich boss has repeatedly shown his distaste for non-competitive football which furthers the theory that he enjoys high stake games. As you can imagine that attitude will naturally help a manager get good results over these last few games much like what happened at the end of last season.
Furthermore McCarthy has another factor that gives him an edge against a lot of his fellow managers at this time of the season. His Ipswich side are and always were underdogs this season, plus he can safely assume that he won’t be sacked any time soon which is a pleasure that few managers can enjoy at any point nowadays.
Marcus Evans has built up a reputation for being a patient owner after persisting with Paul Jewell and Roy Keane far longer than the fans wanted. Whilst some may criticise that approach it does have some very strong advantages as any future managers won’t start to feel under any unnecessary pressure.
Other managers around the top six may find themselves having a few sleepless nights, questioning their tactics after an unlucky defeat and making poor decisions as a result. McCarthy certainly won’t be having these worries as he knows full well that even if he doesn’t make the top six he won’t lose his job and he will have still done a great job this season.
This obviously showed on Tuesday night as the teams currently in 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th all lost and most of them played the divisions weaker sides. If that were to continue to happen from now until the end of the season then Ipswich would have no problem in making the top six.
The next few days will be huge for the Suffolk side though as they have a crucial game against Nottingham Forest and they will find out whether or not they will be extending Jonny Williams’ loan until the end of the season.
The on loan Crystal Palace player has added a spark of creativity and pace to the Ipswich side that was desperately needed and in my opinion losing him would be a huge blow to the Tractor Boys promotion push. Williams has said himself that he would love to stay but it all hinges on whether Tony Pulis will want to bring him back to Palace to help with their relegation dog fight.