I don`t know about you but it`s beginning to feel to me as though beating Ipswich Town may be the last thing that Norwich City have to play for this season.
Sad isn`t it?
Of course the play-off battle isn`t done yet, there are plenty of games to go and the picture will soon become a lot clearer with City having to go to Hillsborough on March 4th. The Owls rather surprisingly, suffered a shock 1-2 defeat against Brentford on Tuesday night, which was their game in hand over us. That has kept the gap to 7 points with Leeds also on the same tally as Wednesday and City also having yet to go to Elland Road.
The problem with both of those games is that they are away from home and at the moment, I have zero faith in our ability to get anything away from home, especially against a decent side like either of those two.
It`s been like that for years though, hasn`t it? There have been blips in that poor away form of course, like when Worthington took us to the title and during the Lambert years, not to mention the run to the play-offs under Alex Neil two years ago but I`m talking about the last 30 odd years in general. The best teams are always consistent both home and away and we are a long way short of being consistent.
An inability to battle when the going gets tough has been apparent time and time again this season. Barnsley, Rotherham, Burton, Preston, QPR, the list is a long one.
I don`t think for a minute that we have poor players because technically they are pretty good, arguably very good at this level but they don`t seemingly have the mettle to compete when the going gets tough. The mini resurgence of Stephen Naismith was a welcome sight before his recent hamstring injury meant we`ve had to play new boy Yanic Wildschut, a player who`s had a “quiet” start to life at Carrow Road.
By contrast Mitchell Dijks has shown exactly what is required to be a winner in this league, right from the get go.
On Sunday we face our old mates from down the A140 in what will, as usual, be their cup final. It`s been a long time since they beat us, eight years, I think and they will be up for it. Their fans on social media revert to type and hark back to past glories because for a large number of younger fans, all they have ever known is second tier football. The equalising goal that Paul Anderson scored in the first leg of the Play-Off semi-final has been raised again this week and is seen by many Ipswich fans as some sort of legendary grail moment. The fact that it wasn`t much more than a tap-in after a cracking strike by Jonny Howson had opened the scoring is lost somehow in the annals of history and Twitter.
Just this week, The Ipswich Star again interviewed Anderson, who now plays for Northampton, about the game and THAT goal. That simple goal, that ultimately meant nothing, is revered as some sort of watershed moment among the Tractor Boys.
Very, very sad.
Anyway, getting back to Sunday. We may, or may not, have nothing else to play for. There will be twists and turns but turning over the old enemy would be a nice way to try to get back on track. They will be physical and we must be ready for that and match it. It`s the same old story but if we can do that, then the superior ball players that we have should finish the game in our favour.
You never know but this may be the spark that our season needs to go on a run and storm the play-offs. I`m not holding my breath though?