Ipswich Town's win over Wycombe Wanderers pointed to a bright future under manager Kieran McKenna
There has been three managers since Mick McCarthy – that’s three new eras and three waves of excitement – and not one started with a win. That stat is a tad depressing but it highlights the optimism bubble bursting too many times.
So when Kieran McKenna entered Portman Road under the lights to a roar from 26,000 Town fans, you had to hope things were going to be different. That this, this is the one to put us back on the right trajectory.
Could he have had an easier start than Wycombe? A team who spent last season in the Championship. Absolutely, but who else to test your metal and put into practice the seven days of ‘on the grass’ work?
McKenna’s first tactical choice was to keep the 3-5-2 that served us well versus Sunderland, with the Covid-forced absence of Walton seeing Hladky play in goal.
The evening started well with a Town side full of running, passion, energy and directness – and a group of 11 players who had clearly been given the freedom to be themselves and the confidence to be expressive on the ball. A releasing of those shackles interim manager John McGreal said were on the side.
To go in at half-time 1-0 up was fully deserved. However, it’s been the second-half adjustments – or lack of – where we have come unstuck in the past, so to say I awaited the restart with bated breath would be an understatement.
However, as first impressions go, I needn’t have worried because it was clear that McKenna was a man with a plan. His subs were certainly proactive rather than reactive and the subtle tweak of Norwood filling in on the left side from time to time to protect Penny was very shrewd.
So, McKenna has done what three managers since Mick failed to do and started with a win. Not only a win but a gutsy, progressive, aggressive and fun win. Yes I did say fun! And if that’s the start I can’t wait for the journey.