Ipswich Town have turned a corner in the last couple of months with Paul Cook earning some impressive results and helping the Tractor Boys climb the table.
But you cannot please everyone and despite comfortably winning the expected goals battle from open play at the weekend, the Suffolk side went down 2-0 at the Stadium of Light.
The victory came at a crucial time for Sunderland off the back of four straight defeats in all competitions and sent the Tractor Boys back to the drawing board with the gap between them and the top six at seven points.
Former player turned pundit Adrian Clarke offered some tactical considerations to Cook on the Totally Football League Show.
He said: “It might be a case of going for a narrower formation like a 4-4-2 diamond, to get (Joe) Pigott up alongside (Macauley) Bonne and (Conor) Chaplin in behind. Or playing Chaplin and (Bersant) Celina in behind a striker might be something to look at moving forwards. But if these wingers and are going to play, they’ve got to deliver.”
The Tractor Boys have the unenviable task of hosting a rampant Rotherham United on Tuesday evening and will have their work cut out getting the better of Paul Warne’s men no matter what formation they deploy.
The Millers are unbeaten in 14 in all competitions and are starting to look the most likely team to go on to win the league title.
Quiz: What club do these 22 rarely-seen ex-Ipswich Town players play at now?
It is easy to point holes in Cook’s tactics given how much talent is at his disposal, there are so many different variations of an attacking contingent he could put together and would still be expected to earn promotion from League One this season.
Cook has been a rigid 4-2-3-1 man for an extended period of time now, he stuck with it through some tricky periods at the beginning of the campaign and he will not back down on it since they have come out the other side. It is unclear how much control over transfers he had this summer and therefore he may even feel like there is a surplus of attacking players at the club.
Given the overwhelming quality in the squad, a lot of pundits would back themselves to get a tune out of Ipswich this term.