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It’s unlikely you’ll hear manager Kieran McKenna or any of his players describing this game as such, even if there is an acceptance their season is probably not going to end the way we all wanted it to.
In skipper Sam Morsy, Town’s on-pitch efforts are led by a man with laser focus. How many times have we seen him demand higher standards from his team-mates on the pitch in recent months? He’s not likely to stop now, even if the season is past the point of no return.
Bersant Celina’s another player who approaches every game he plays in in the same way. There are countless others across the team.
The defensive unit will want to further prove why they can be the bedrock of a real promotion challenge next season, while Macauley Bonne, James Norwood and Joe Pigott will all be wanting to show they are much better striking options than their goal-scoring returns of late suggest.
But perhaps the biggest reason Ipswich can’t afford to see these games as dead rubbers is the mood around the club which, considering what’s happened on the pitch, is incredibly high. The club is clearly moving in the right direction.
A really good finish here would take Ipswich into the summer full of belief that better times and a first real League One promotion challenge is on the way next season.
And, while it’s surely not going to happen, football is a funny old game. You never know where an improbable run of five successive wins might take Ipswich.
There are futures and contracts to play for, too.
For the team in general, there’s the prospect of finishing higher than the ninth-place they managed last season, while five more points are required to equal the 2020/21 points total. In themselves they’re nothing worth celebrating, but it would be at least a sign of progress.
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Bonne, Norwood and Pigott are the three fit front men, but will any of them be around for next season? That’s doesn’t feel like a slam dunk for any of them at the moment.
Norwood’s had the last two starts and has had bright and quiet moments in both games without finding the net, while Bonne’s solitary start in Ipswich’s last 10 games was at Morecambe. He missed big chances there. Pigott’s not played at all since being hooked at Oxford, following a difficult display.
Will any of them take their chance between now and the end of the campaign?
Bonne leads the scoring charts on 12 goals but is now just one ahead of flying winger Wes Burns, who has fired himself to 11.
He will be wanting to claim Ipswich’s golden boot in his debut season with the club.