After a dismal showing on Tuesday, Plymouth Argyle will be hoping for better when they take on Ipswich Town at Home Park this weekend. We had the pleasure of being joined by Ipswich fan Craig for our Opposition View. Craig also takes part in the Blue Monday Podcast, which you can also find on Twitter here.
First of all, how did you get into supporting Ipswich?
I’m just south of the border, in Essex, but my big brother’s father-in-law was a huge Ipswich fan so took me and my footstool along with him from when I was 7yrs old. First match I recall was October 1982, John Wark scored four and we beat WBA 6-1. So my time supporting Town has dovetailed nicely with our downturn since the glory days of the late 70s/early 80s!
Are there any Ipswich players in particular we should be looking out for?
“Looking out for” in what respect? To have a good laugh at them?! Spoilt for choice in that regard.
For pure footballing reasons, I would have said Andre Dozzell but he’s on his second suspension of the season so far, due to a red card at Sunderland and now having accumulated five bookings. He sits in front of our back four and dictates play for us. Our slump in form has been partly mirrored by his subsequent non-availability.
Of those who will play, it’s “bare bones” time. Our best, most exciting players are all injured. You could look out for Alan Judge, if he’s selected, to see just how far an international footballer can fall in such a short period of time.
What have you made of your start to the season so far?
The start was fine! We were top after the first six matches of the season, scoring more than two goals a game (on average); Paul Lambert won Manager of the Month for September.
However, the wheels have fallen off since. Same happened last season (around the time Lambert was given a shiny, five-year contract). We’ve managed to acquire ten points from the last nine league games with only six goals scored over that time (two of which were own goals from the opposition).
We are, however, still currently in 5th albeit by virtue of plenty of teams below us not having played as many games as us.
And what would you say your ambitions are for the rest of the campaign?
Our ambitions should be promotion and they need to be promotion. We have a huge number of players who are out of contract this season and who don’t want to be playing League One football. A combination of that and the impending salary cap will see us lose the vast majority (if not all) of our better players so it is almost a make or break season. From the bubble of social media and message boards, it looks like the bulk of Ipswich fans will be more confident about achieving promotion with a change of manager.
What sort of tactical style do you expect to set up with on Saturday?
Slow, pedestrian, turgid, possession-based football. We’ll look to keep the ball, predominantly in our own half, and bore you to death in the hope you kick the ball into your own net for us.
And are there any real weak links in the side you’re worried about?
Apart from the manager?
We’re relatively solid at the back but have very little to offer going forwards; see previous stats re: goals scored.
Our main striker (James Norwood) is injured, our wide attackers (Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears) are injured, our best three midfielders (Flynn Downes, Teddy Bishop and Andre Dozzell) are injured/unavailable, Kane Vincent Young was tearing it up at right-back but hasn’t been seen for over a year, so our attacking options are decimated and it’s showing.
What first comes to mind when you think of Plymouth Argyle?
Peter Shilton as manager, Cornish pasties from the back of a van in the car park and red cards for Ipswich; Fabian Wilnis (twice in two matches) and Steve Whitton, off the top of my head.
Which Argyle player, if any, would you like to sign?
We’ve endured Frank Nouble and we (briefly) had Conor Grant on loan, so know what they’re about. Maybe Danny Mayor. We actually showed him around Portman Road, I believe, before he chose to follow Ryan Lowe from Bury and we’re short of attacking players.
What are your predictions for League One in general this year?
It’s a poor league from what I’ve seen. Hull appear to be the best of the bunch but didn’t look anything special when we played them a couple of weeks back (although they didn’t need to be to beat us 3-0 at home). Peterborough almost lose as many as they win, Charlton lost at home midweek, Portsmouth fans seem to want Jackett out as they think they should be doing better. No disrespect, but the fact that Accrington could cement a play-off position if they win one or two of their games in hand could tell its own tale. Sunderland might come good dependent on who they appoint.
And finally, what is your prediction for the game itself?
1-0 Argyle (Nouble via a combination of knee, shin and backside while looking to control a pass straight to feet). Paul Lambert will then tell all and sundry that we played brilliantly despite 70% possession and zero shots on target. Nailed on.