After 3 agonizing hours at the Valley last week where we started brilliantly and ended, after more half-time corrections, in a charge-filled last 20 minutes, the lasting image that we'll all remember (after Varney's miss) will be the abysmal middle hour and a half where we played like frightened sheep and where our soft centre was all too clearly displayed.
So after coming so close to beating a team with only one defeat in 12 ( and completing our first comeback since the Black Death), we're off to play Ipswich who have had only 1 defeat in their last 9 fizzies ( conveniently ignoring a 1-4 home defeat in the Carling to Wigan in mid-September) and we all know who it was that they lost to.
But revenge is sweet, or so they say, and a thumping 3-1 win at Plymouth on Saturday, where they had a total of 11 shoots on target, will have set them up for just such a thing. Lisbie started for the first time in a month, and scored, and with 3 fizzy goals so far from only 6 starts ( plus another goal in the League Cup) is currently making Luke look a bit of a whoopsie.
And with Kevin odds-on to start up front, Ipswich have found scoring goals a bit easy. Twenty so far, only Reading and Wolves have more, they've hit 3 goals three times in a game and counting all games played they've apparently had double the shoots on target that the Addicks have had.
But their home form is nothing as good as last season and after losing successive home games to Preston and Wolves back in August, they then returned to last seasons form and beat Coppells Reading 2-0 and more recently enjoyed draws with Palarse and Swansea which have sandwiched a tasty 3-0 romp over Barnsley. So its a nice symmetrical home record of 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats this season but which is currently only better than the likes of Derby, Forest, Southampton and Doncaster and in fact they have scored fewer goals, 9, at home than we have. So it's a decent away record of nine points that has taken them above us to 13th spot with 17 points.
And if you're looking for a weakness Pards, it comes with a certain frailty that we should know all about. There's one thing where Ipswich are currently the worst in the fizzies and it concerns points lost after going in front. In fact there's a couple of teams that know all about the art of chucking games away once they've taken the lead. Perhaps its due to their early goalscoring feats - they've scored first in 8 out of 13 games - but there are five games in which they have been in front and dropped points - in two of them they've lost, to Preston and Watford after scoring in the second minute both times, and in the other three they've drawn after leading thus dropping 12 points in the process, the worst in the Fizzies. Of course, second best in this shooting-yourself-in-the-foot scenario, are the Addicks after dropping 9 points in 3 defeats to Preston, Wolves and Sheff. Wed after scoring first.
As for the history, there's only a handfull of teams in the fizzies that we've played less times than Ipswich with only 17 seasons together before this one and our record at Portland Rd stands at 9-5 - that's 9 defeats to 5 wins, with 5 draws, so not bad. And after our win three weeks ago its neck and neck with 14 wins each and 7 draws. Our last visit though, back in March, finished 0-2, was our third defeat in row that pushed us down to 9th and ended all hope of promotion.
Team News - A storming last 20 minutes on Saturday can't hide the fact that when writing out his teamsheet there's not many names that are now already come pencilled in. After Bailey's wretched week and with Varney's glaring miss, you'd be pushed to expand on more than two people certain to start, namely Weaver and Hudson. But we know, of course, that Pards is not going to leave out Luke whatever happens - he's still the only player to have played every minute of our 14 games. Perhaps that's one of our problems. What effect could it have on the rest of the team playing behind a striker that's only scored 7 goals since Christmas? The effect on the performance against Burnley with the appearance, at half-time, of a striker that knows how to score was strikingly obvious.
Anyway, as for the defence, Pardew is set to continue with Moutaouakil and although Primus had a knock and was looking tired (!) before coming off on Saturday, it would seem sensible to continue with him and Hudson at centre-back. Left-back though has returned to be an issue with now Cranie, Basey and Youga all possibles.
Against a team that knows how to score we'll need attacking options and with his swinging free-kicks and corners as a bonus Basey should start at left-back.
As for midfield, Bailey's having a wretched time and seems to be going backwards and perhaps we should play the same team as 3 weeks ago with Ambrose and Bouazza out wide, Holland (on for 77 minutes in place of Bailey) in the centre with Wright taking the place of the injured ZiZi. Tods and Varney were up front.
The problem with a team forecast is that you have to explain whether its your selection or Pardews team that you showing. Well, at this point lets indulge ourselves and name a team that we want to see. I was going to reinstate Semedo in place of Bailey until I realised that the trio of Semedo, Ambrose and Holland failed 7 months ago to have any effect on our slump so Nick's back in.
Weaver; Moutaouakil, Hudson, Primus, Basey; Bailey, Wright, Holland, Ambrose; Todorov, Dickson.
Yes, I know we shouldn't play Bailey and Holland together but with Holland ( and Brother Ambrose) itching, perhaps, to return to their roots it would be a good time for them to convince the Tractors what they have to offer. And yes, I feel its about time to give Luke a rest and give Dickson a run.
Prediction: After leaving the Valley on Saturday feeling like a win, according to Pards, you wouldn't expect anything other than a correcting defeat to put things back in perspective. A 0-2 result seems about right in the circumstances but what would that mean to Pardews future? With Barnsley away to Doncaster and Southampton at home to Coventry, wins for those two and defeat for us would push us into the bottom three! Come on Pards, a point at least...