HOW quickly early-season optimism can fade.
Just a single week has seen Town stumble to three successive home defeats, conceding eight goals and looking more bottom six than top six material.
And there were more than shades of Norwich City’s last visit to Portman Road on Tuesday night, with Southampton cutting through our defence at ease time after time as they ran in five goals.
If a play-off push is built upon the foundation of a solid home record and snatching points on your travels our bid is currently built on no more than sand.
Once a fortress, Portman Road has somehow turned into a theatre where stage fright prevails for the home cast.
Following Tuesday’s 5-2 horror show, which came off the back of a 1-0 defeat to previously goalless Hull City (a side humbled 4-1 by a troubled Leeds side on Tuesday), Jewell put it down to confidence and described it as a ‘rude awakening’.
Unfortunately, this is a nightmare us Blues fans are all to familiar with and if you can play well at Ashton Gate, the argument simply doesn’t wash that can’t be replicated on an immaculate pitch in front of your home fans, who did stick with the side on Tuesday.
For me, Jewell got his tactics totally wrong against the Saints, leaving out all his wide players in favour of a 4-1-3-2 formation that left us far too susceptible on the flanks. By the time he had changed to a more familiar 4-4-2 after 12 minutes, to combat the problems, we were already 2-0 down and on the way to a hiding. And having Leadbitter on the right flank for the rest of the game was a case of a square peg in a round hole.
The players obviously also have to shoulder responsibility for our poor start at home as too many haven’t turned up, but alarmingly, in defence, the personnel currently don’t seem up to the job.
Hopefully, by time we travel to Peterborough for Saturday’s SKY televised 5.20pm kick-off, there will be at least one new face at the back. It emerged last week Jewell had gone in for England internationals Matthew Upson and Jonathan Woodgate before they joined Stoke City. Some deemed the targets ‘unrealistic’ but at least he is showing ambition and a realisation seasoned campaigners are needed.
Jewell and the fans will expect a big reaction at London Road, now it’s over to the players to restore some faith...