A big thanks to Benjamin Bloom from Blue Monday Podcast for sharing his Ipswich Town knowledge ahead of Reading’s penultimate match of the season. Besides being a Tractor Boy podcaster, he also does a bucket load of match verdicts spanning the entirety of the Championship, so suffice to say that he knows his stuff. You can find his YouTube channel right here.
Could you give us a quick overview of how the season’s gone for Ipswich Town so far?
On the pitch the season has fizzled out in the worst way, after an amazing winning streak to start the season the following 35 games has seen the team slowly drop out of the play-off picture and into mid table once again.
Positives with players have been Martyn Waghorn arriving and becoming a fan favourite and Bialkowkski winning player of the year for the third straight season. Off the pitch it has been far more interesting with a managerial walk out, a reclusive owner finally doing an on camera interview, and a new manager imminent.
Will Mick McCarthy be missed?
Every club Mick McCarthy has left has gone on to get relegated - the way his teams play means that a certain type of player is preferred with a certain skill set so whoever comes in will have to tread very carefully with reference to asking those players to do things outside of what Mick has had them doing the past seasons. Whether he’s missed on not relies purely on who is hired and how well they do.
What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses in this Ipswich team?
I would’ve said under McCarthy, the biggest strengths were defending, pressing, winning the second ball and set plays, with the biggest weakness passing and keeping the ball for sustained periods. However, we’re under a caretaker manager so the team doesn’t really have a personality at the moment as we wait for a new boss.
What have you made of Reading this season?
I’ve been surprised by Reading this season - everything that worked so well last season hasn’t worked this season and what looked like a philosophy and style under Stam has had to be ditched with relegation a possibility. I think Modou Barrow will cause us problems with his speed and am sure some of the players will enjoy a slightly less flowery style under Paul Clement.
How do you see the game going, and what will the score be?
The game is important to Reading, last home game and a win guarantees safety, Ipswich have nothing to play for so will probably not be able match Readings intensity to win and I suspect will come out on the end of a 1-0 defeat as the season plays out.