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View from the opposition: Uncertainty is adding to bad mood as form dips for Town

Bartosz Bialkowski has been Town's most consistent performer this season. Photo: Steve Waller

Bartosz Bialkowski has been Town's most consistent performer this season. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

The view from south of the border is provided by host of the Ipswich Town Talk podcast KIEREN STANDLEY ahead of tomorrow’s derby clash at Carrow Road

Town boss Mick McCarthy - is it time for a change at the top? Picture: STEVE WALLERTown boss Mick McCarthy - is it time for a change at the top? Picture: STEVE WALLER

Why are Town fans so gloomy when the only defeat in the last five is to Wolves?

One defeat in five doesn’t necessarily look too bad on paper but we’ve also faced a number of sides battling the drop since the turn of the year. To pick up only four points from the games against Bolton, Sunderland and Burton is concerning. Goals have also dried up, only managing one goal at home in the last six games and the once red hot Martyn Waghorn now 12 games without a goal.

Is the Mick McCarthy era coming to a close at Portman Road?

I believe so. The uncertainty surrounding his future has left fans crying out for some clarity and desperate for change. The bizarre tactical decisions, unpopular style of play and multiple attacks on supporters in the local media have left the relationship beyond repair. In fairness, he’ll more than likely see out the season and walk out of Portman Road with his reputation relatively intact.

The goal trail has gone cold for striker Martyn Waghorn. Picture PagepixThe goal trail has gone cold for striker Martyn Waghorn. Picture Pagepix

Which players have been the best performers this season?

If you are looking for a consistently high performer, then look no further than Bartosz Bialkowski, it’s worrying to wonder just where Town would be had it not been for him. His outstanding performances have attracted recent interest from Crystal Palace and speculation has risen in the past week that he is under consideration for a call-up to the Polish national team. Bersant Celina is the other key man to watch out for, with the on-loan Man City winger capable of producing magical moments and being the only legit game changer that Town have in their ranks.

And which have disappointed?

The biggest under-performer has been David McGoldrick. To his credit, he started the season pretty well, but has significantly dropped off since suffering a horrific groin injury against Sheffield Wednesday in November. It’s well known about the technical ability he possesses, but has looked way off the pace and disinterested during his recent run in the team, albeit playing out of position. His contract is up in the summer and with him being over 30 and one of the highest earners at the club, I fully expect him to move on at the end of the season.

How would you rate Town’s work during the January transfer window?

It was a mixed bag. I really like the loan addition of Cameron Carter-Vickers from Tottenham and a couple of players for the future in Aaron Drinan and Barry Cotter but it definitely seems as if Town are merely relying on short term loans and players on six-month deals. We also lost our longest serving player Tommy Smith, a move that pulled at the heartstrings with a lot of fans If there is a reason to be positive, the short term fixes do suggest Town are clearing the decks for a new manager to have some flexibility with the wage budget in the summer.

Are you still holding on to hopes for the play-offs?

Absolutely not, I think that ship sailed a while ago. We may only be eight points off the playoffs, but we also have to rely on multiple teams above us dropping points. Realistically, it’s just not going to happen with our current inability to score enough goals and beat teams that we really should be seeing off.

Do you see Norwich as favourites going into the game?

Realistically, yes. Norwich are unbeaten in East Anglian Derbies since 2009 so there is no reason to suggest Town should be considered the favourites. I think this season in particular is more of a level playing field for the first time in a while and Norwich’s home form hasn’t exactly inspired, but I still expect the Canaries to be fancied at home.

Which of the City players do Town need to be wary of?

The obvious name is James Maddison, who has been nothing short of sensational this season. Just like Bialkowski with us, I do wonder where Norwich would be without him. Farke has also made City very strong defensively, something that doesn’t bode well for our lack of goal scoring.

And finally, what is your prediction for the game?

Purely out of principal, I can’t predict a defeat for the Blues. I expect the game to be an incredibly tight affair and could be a case of who blinks first. I’m going to go for a 1-1 draw, which obviously means this painful streak for us will continue but on balance, is probably the fairest and most realistic possibility for us. Not that I’d scoff at a win though!

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