It’s ironic that Ipswich Town fans have spent much of this week downplaying just how important last weekend’s derby was to them given the build-up to the game.

Flares, smoke, giant banners and self-styled “Ultras” filming themselves while bravely throwing things at a car carrying a couple of octogenarians were all part of the attempts to generate an intimidating atmosphere intended to strike fear into the hearts of City’s players and fans.

In fact, all it achieved was to increase the burden of expectation on their own players as they prepared to go out and try to produce the thumping that had already been achieved in thousands of minds long before the actual game.

City, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy being the underdogs in this fixture for the first time in many years and had little to lose.

All season Ipswich have looked lethal in and around the box but on Saturday they were wasteful as chances were created but their finishing lacked composure as the pressure to end that long wait for a win against their local rivals grew.

Of course, they were the dominant side, although not to the extent that their manager suggested in a graceless post-game interview that again emphasised just what a deflating experience the result had been for the Tractor Boys and their fans.

They certainly created enough chances to win, hardly surprisingly given that they are 21 points ahead of the Canaries and cruising towards automatic promotion, but it wasn’t the one-sided afternoon that their fans had predicted, and many City fans had feared.

City showed genuine grit, not least Sam McCullum, thrown in at the last minute and suffering a torrid first half, but bouncing back in the second to make a series of important interventions, and also Shane Duffy who reproduced the dominant form of the early part of the season.

It was never likely that City were going to go to Portman Road and control the game, but having said that, they again made things harder for themselves through sloppy passing and being overly passive, not least in a nerve jangling closing 10 minutes in which the opposition were again offered licence to attack at will as David Wagner chose to try to hold on rather than maintain an attacking threat.

Fortunately, by that stage the home side had largely run out of ideas, although it did need an outstanding save by Angus Gunn to seal the result.

It was a welcome and hard-earned point, and while it will change few people’s opinion on Wagner’s style of football it does now seem that he is now likely to remain in post for the foreseeable future, with the recent run keeping City in touch with the play-off places.

The returns of Grant Hanley, Hwang Ui-jo and Josh Sargent are getting ever closer and will strengthen a squad that is currently lacking in depth, and there is an opportunity to make Saturday’s result a turning point if it can be grasped, so hopefully the crowd will really get behind the players today.

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However, it does concern me that so many players are being used in positions that aren’t natural to them, and that Wagner seems excessively concerned with developing the defensive abilities of naturally creative players rather than concentrating on what they can produce in the final third.

The other thing that is on the minds of all City fans is whether the fast-approaching January transfer window will see the City squad strengthened by incomings or weakened by sales, as that will give a clear indication of whether footballing ambition or financial necessity is the overriding driver at the Club. It will certainly be a big test for Ben Knapper.

Whatever happens this afternoon I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, hopefully starting with three points and a first double of the season today!