Could dropping into League One rejuvenate Ipswich in similar style to City's title-winning adventure?
PUBLISHED: 13:10 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:10 25 October 2018
Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738
Things may be clicking for Daniel Farke at Norwich City but south of the border Paul Hurst's job as Ipswich Town manager already looks to be under threat.
The Blues’ miserable start to the Championship season continued with a 2-0 defeat at Leeds on Wednesday night, a result which doesn’t look that bad in isolation, after all Norwich lost 3-0 to Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion hopefuls at home in August.
However, while that result has proved something of a turning point for City, the loss at Elland Road left Town with just one win from 14 games – and sat rock bottom of the table.
Our sister publications in Suffolk, the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, have responded to the heavy criticism of Hurst’s team by publishing an online poll asking if it’s time for the former Shrewsbury boss to go.
At the time of writing over 80 percent of Town supporters have decided it’s time to admit the summer appointment hasn’t worked out, having not seen their side win in seven attempts at Portman Road so far this season.
The pressure appears to really be building ahead of a trip to Millwall on Saturday, who won their second match in three games with a 2-1 home success against Wigan on Tuesday, with former Norwich striker Steve Morison scoring a late winner.
It’s clear that worries are increasing rapidly for fans of the Tractor Boys, with their club already the longest-serving Championship club in their 17th consecutive campaign in the second tier.
During that time of course the Canaries have been down to League One, bounced back as title winners, been promoted twice to the Premier League, spent four seasons in the top flight and been relegated back to the Championship twice.
Could dropping into the third tier for the first time in more than 60 years have the same galvanising effect for Town?
It all follows six seasons under Mick McCarthy that almost saw the former Wolves boss hounded out due to his perceived negative football, despite finishing in the top half in four of those campaigns – famously suffering play-off semi-final defeat to Norwich in 2015.
With rumours circulating that owner Marcus Evans has sought out potential replacements, Hurst said after the Leeds loss: “Unfortunately those things are out there. Are they healthy? Realistically, no.
“But as I said going into the game, all you can do is focus on your job and do it to the best of your ability. Ultimately, if it’s deemed not good enough, then so be it.”
City sit 15 points better off than their arch rivals in sixth place, despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Portman Road at the start of September, and are enjoying the longest unbeaten run in the history of the East Anglian derby of 11 games, stretching back to 2010.
However, beyond the crowing over local dominance, there is a very real threat of there being no derby game next season, unless the Blues can turn it around – and if the Canaries’ impressive resurgence doesn’t carry them all the way back to the Premier League this season.