Last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Reading all but confirmed Ipswich Town’s relegation from the Championship, but fans have reasons to be optimistic, especially after Saturday’s draw at West Brom.
After falling behind after just four minutes, Town produced an excellent team performance, proving to be more than a match for the promotion-chasing Baggies and arguably deserved to come away with all three points.
Now, with ten games to go until the end of the campaign, the Tractor Boys find themselves at the foot of the table, 12 points adrift of safety.
However, despite the fact it has been a dreadful season for the club, the remaining ten games represent a valuable opportunity for Paul Lambert and his players.
For Lambert, they are a chance for him to assess his squad – to decide which players he wants to keep at the club and who he might let go in the summer.
In turn, for the players, the remaining Championship games represent a big opportunity to impress the manager and perhaps they can play with more freedom now relegation is inevitable.
If they can do that, they have a real chance of playing an important role in what they will hope will be a promotion-winning campaign in the third tier next season.
Take Jon Nolan for example, who produced a man-of-the-match display in the 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns at the weekend.
He is yet to really reach the standard expected from him since Paul Hurst brought him to the club from Shrewsbury in the summer.
However, over the past month or so, he has shown signs of becoming an important player for Ipswich and on Saturday he produced arguably his best performance in a Town shirt yet, equalising with a terrific header in the 48th minute.
If he can add more goals to his game, he is more than capable of becoming a key player for the Tractor Boys in League One next season, just as he did for Shrewsbury last season.
Furthermore, the remaining games are a chance for the likes of Nolan and his teammates to improve by testing themselves against Championship opposition.