Despite beating Birmingham City at Portman Road on Tuesday night, Ipswich still have some issues to address before Sunday’s East Anglian Derby.
Examining the faults of a team that have just moved up to third in the league may seem an odd thing to, but at this stage in the season it is the finer points that can make the difference.
Mick McCarthy's side twice relinquished a two-goal lead and needed Kevin Bru’s 90th minute goal to secure the victory when it looked as though the visitors might draw level late on.
The main issue for Ipswich was the lack of natural width. Paul Anderson started the game for the Tractor Boys but often drifted inside from his position on the right wing, making it difficult for Luke Chambers to get forward.
This often meant Ipswich resorting to a long ball approach, usually aiming for Daryl Murphy, who for the second game in a row seemed reluctant to head the ball. Having to wear a facemask for his broken nose is probably a major factor in this, but it affects the way Ipswich play, interfering with the link-up play between Murphy and Freddie Sears.
The latter of the two was a high point in the game, often driving at the defence with the ball at his feet and using his speed – as well as very composed finishing—for both of his goals.
Whilst Ipswich were slightly disjointed going forward, the issue of having two left footed centre-backs is increasingly causing problems. Tommy Smith can at times look uncomfortable when in possession and this usually results in a long ball forward, but with the target man unable to use his aerial prowess it usually means losing possession.
Finally we come to Bartosz Bialkowski, who failed to stop David Davis' shot, instead pushing it into the goal. The Polish ‘keeper is prone to some subtle errors but in recent times these have become more prominent, and may be even more so against an attack as strong as Norwich City’s.
McCarthy has options with ‘keepers and whilst Bialkowski hasn’t quite made enough glaringly obvious errors to be replaced immediately, any further mistakes would probably be enough to see him replaced by Dean Gerken, or McCarthy could opt to hand Paddy Kenny a debut.