Latics face a potential banana skin tomorrow at bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Town. The Tractor Boys must be regretting the departure of Mick McCarthy at the end of his contract in April as they have only won once this season under previous manager Paul Hurst and are still without a win under new manager Paul Lambert.
Ipswich have only accumulated 11 points from 21 games and are eight points from safety and in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of the table. They’ve only scored 17 goals so far this season and conceded 37.
The club appears to be in a downward spiral after 17 seasons in the Championship and the owner Marcus Evans has been reluctant to splash out in the transfer market.
It was noticeable that the four highest scorers from last season: Martyn Waghorn (Derby), Joe Garner (Wigan), Bersant Celina (Swansea) and David McGoldrick (Sheffield United) have all left the club and been replaced by players from Leagues One and Two.
Evans would like to sell the club as it is losing £8m per season and crowds have been falling but no offers have been forthcoming. The former Norwich manager Lambert has had a disappointing start to his tenure with only two points taken from his first six games in charge.
However, the law of averages suggests that Lambert’s team will win at some point and manager Paul Cook must ensure that it isn’t his team that slip up at the bottom club.
Latics have a poor record on the road, winning only once away from the DW Stadium this season. They did get a point at local rivals Bolton in the last away game but they have been struggling to find some consistency on their travels.
They have also suffered with a horrendous injury list and they had more bad news last week when it was revealed that midfielder Nick Powell would be out until January with a hamstring strain.
Michael Jacobs, Antonee Robinson and Chey Dunkley are all still unavailable and Latics will also be without Kal Naismith who received a one-match suspension after being sent off against Derby last Saturday.
At least there was some good news about winger Gavin Massey who is nearing fitness and was involved in the Development Squad fixture against Sheffield United on Tuesday and is likely to play a part against Ipswich.
Latics with a fully fit squad are capable of competing at the top end of the table and are still only 11 points off a play-off spot but a defeat at the bottom club would have a dispiriting effect and could knock the confidence as they are only seven points above the relegation zone.
Ipswich will be desperate for a first win under Lambert but Latics must be resolute and focused to ensure that they come away with the three points at Portman Road.