Who doesn`t love a derby day? No matter what the situation is for both sides going into the game, all pretence is dropped and everything becomes about beating your old rivals and gaining 6 months of bragging rights. Today was no different.
Having said that I don`t think today`s result will prove very significant at the end of the season. The more important thing for the players, and the fans, is to take the positives from the game and move forward to some much more significant fixtures coming up.
The one thing you can say about the result is that it felt pretty predictable. City were always going to be the dominant force and have chances. Ipswich were, eventually, going to get an opportunity which they took well. I think we allowed the game to go flat at times which may have been more costly if it wasn’t for an excellent strike by Jacob Murphy. Another year goes by without the pain of a lost derby.
I would argue there are plenty of positives to be taken from the game going forward into what, undoubtedly, will be a defining game this season against Sheffield Wednesday. Following that an away tie at Ashton Gate to boot.
Defensively I think we were very good. Jacob Murphy was at fault for Knudsen`s opener, but good individual and team performances across the back four. Pinto and Dijks providing a good threat going forward and confident defending alongside Klose and Martin. Hopefully they can carry this forward to Sheffield next Saturday.
Going forward we were able to create decent chances and were perhaps unlucky not to win with Bialkowski making good saves to deny Tettey and Pritchard. It was nice to see Naismith back on the pitch. At the moment each week our options in the forward positions seem to get larger. Having these options will be very important for us as we head towards the end of the season. Personally I hope to see Maddison soon and the return of Jarvis.
On the subject of injuries I think Oliveira was a massive miss today. Jerome was his usual, hard-working self but lacked the quality of finishing that I`d argue you get much more consistently from Oliveira. The sooner he returns to the team the better.
Personally I always find this derby transcends the feeling of a usual game, maybe I`ve got too many Ipswich fans for friends and the pride outweighs everything rather than the significance of three points, so I`m perhaps happier with a point than I usually would be. You might argue we have missed an opportunity with Reading and Sheffield Wednesday both slipping up over the weekend. Those results, for me, show that we are still in the race this season. The Championship has the ability to change substantially very, very quickly.
The game as a whole was pretty forgettable, especially if you compare it with some of the wonderful derby matches in recent years, compounded by the fact that our next fixture will be massively more important when push comes to shove at the end of the season.
As it was, and so it remains, that our away form will make us, or break us, by the end of the season. And now we look forward to two big tests away from home.