Ipswich Town column: Pride flows back into Tractor Boys' veins after victory, with Sunderland up next
It’s good to be back! After the horror-show last season, I couldn’t believe it when I was stood in a bouncing away terrace at the Pirelli Stadium, singing my heart out and proud to be wearing that blue and white shirt again.
And, a quick note on that – the way fans have taken relegation, and the positivity and pride now surrounding the club is astonishing. It feels a much better place than when a certain Barnsley-born manager was at the helm, even if we are in the third tier, but let’s not go down that road!
The Brewers finished ninth last campaign with 11 wins at home, so the trip was never going to be easy.
Not forgetting that Paul Lambert had numerous first-team players on the sidelines, either injured or suspended, and with a make-shift backline strung together, debutant goalkeeper and a new striker making his first appearance. The fact we’ve come away with all three points and a clean sheet is very impressive.
We all knew when the fixtures were released that Sunderland at home, on the second game of the season, was massive. And if we were serious about bouncing straight back up, one we have to win. The Mackems had a decent campaign last season, but all their fans will tell you that not being promoted resulted in the season being a failure.
Jack Ross has recruited a few new faces over the summer but, like Mr Lambert, is yet to spend any money, with free transfers and loans coming in. The departures of Bryan Oviedo, Lee Cattermole and George Honeyman look like they could affect The Black Cats. And without a win in their last five league games and a lacklustre 1-1 draw on the opening day, a win at Ipswich would kick-start their season.
I’m nervous, I’m worried, but I can’t wait to be back at Portman Road. Now is the time to play Sunderland – a win would be gigantic and send a statement out to the rest of the league: we want our League One visit to be short and sweet.