Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman believes League One rivals Ipswich Town will ‘rocket up the league’ after the Christmas period with the calibre of their squad, speaking after this clash on the Lancashire side’s YouTube channel.
Stanley came out 2-1 winners on Saturday afternoon, with a second-half fightback via Colby Bishop and Harry Pell handing the Suffolk outfit an unwelcome defeat in their quest for promotion to the Championship.
Although many people wouldn’t have classed the Tractor Boys as major promotion contenders at the end of last term following an underwhelming campaign, finish 9th, their squad rebuild and recruitment of 19 players completely changed the picture at Portman Road.
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But after such a major rebuild by manager Paul Cook in the space of just a few months, they struggled to get going this season and failed to win any of their first six league games, leaving them in the relegation zone.
Their 6-0 home victory against Doncaster Rovers last midweek to stretch their recent unbeaten run to three since then was thought to be the catalyst for a brighter campaign, but a second-half at capitulation at the Wham Ground consigned them to another defeat and 19th in the table.
So despite their quality and squad depth, things are looking relatively bleak in Suffolk all things considered – and they will need to improve their form quickly if they want to drag themselves into the promotion mix.
Accrington boss John Coleman has an upbeat prediction for Ipswich supporters to flock to though, saying after his clash with the Tractor Boys: “Post-Christmas, you’ll see them (Ipswich Town) rocket up the league because they’ve got so many good players.
“But we’ve got good players as well.
“I spoke to Paul (Cook) a bit this week and I know they weren’t taking it lightly and I know they hadn’t ruled us off.
“They knew what a tough game it would be.
“For all the pundits, this was like as if the game was won (by Ipswich Town).
“They’ve won six in the week and we lost five, so people just thought that it was a formality.
“We’ve been overcoming that time and time again and today was no different.”
Ipswich Town look to have a great future with the players at their disposal, but their financial situation will determine how desperate they will be to get back to the second tier this season.
Recruiting many Championship-quality players must not have been cheap, though their clearout will have helped them to clear space on their wage bill and the amount of free/loan signings they managed to make may ensure they haven’t put themselves in financial peril with their summer business.
But focusing more on on-field matters, they need to be more consistent in their requirement to rise up the table in a meteoric fashion after such a slow start.
This latest defeat will be a particular blow for the Tractor Boys who seemed to be unstoppable with their recent run of games at the 6-0 hammering of Doncaster – but they have no international break to re-charge their batteries as a side still plying their trade in League One.
The lack of break could make their strength in depth vital for the rest of the campaign, not just in a physical sense, but also a mental one if a squad player can come in and improve the mentality of the starting 11.
That could end up being the difference for them this season.