This managers claim will be music to the ears of Birmingham City fans

This manager\s claim will be music to the ears of Birmingham City fans

The Verdict: Andy Warren has his say on Ipswich Town after the 2-2 draw at Birmingham City | Ipswich Town FC and Suffolk & Essex Sport

Were now at the 10 league game mark of Ipswich Towns new era, and what do they have to show for it? On the face of things its no victories, six draws, four defeats and a place inside the Championship relegation zone. Oh, and a Carabao Cup exit to League Two opposition to boot.

Ultimately these are the only statistics that matter and are how Hursts reign is and will be judged. But it certainly doesnt tell the whole story.

Birmingham City 2-2 Ipswich Town observations: Andy Warren on the Blues draw at St Andrews | Ipswich Town

Speaking after the deflating 2-2 draw at Birmingham on Saturday, in which the Blues led 2-0 at half-time but let their advantage slip, Hurst insisted it is completely fair to evaluate his work at this stage.

The headline grabber is the lack of a victory in 11 competitive matches and that rightly casts a shadow over his 123 days in post.

Weve seen an overhaul in playing staff leaving players with no second-tier experience needing to find their Championship feet on the job – that was always going to take time.

But how different would things be right now had the Blues managed a victory on the opening day, when they were arguably the better side against Blackburn, or a week later in a tight game at Rotherham. Harsh red cards against Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday cost Hurst any chance of victory there. Ipswich should really have beaten Norwich before the international break and, despite an extremely poor first-half against Brentford, looked the more likely to win the game with the Bees after a dramatic turnaround at the break.

Fine margins indeed, but Hurst is used to those. Problem is hes used to coming out on the right side of them.

Of the 25 wins his Shrewsbury side recorded in their hugely impressive third-place finish in League One last season, the margin of victory in 19 of them was just a single goal. Nine of those games ended 1-0 to the Shropshire side.

Hursts Ipswich simply dont have that killer instinct, the ability to put the final nail in the oppositions coffin at both ends of the pitch, at the moment and thats the biggest worry.

MORE: Positives to take but at 2-0 up you are clearly hopeful of a victory – Hurst on Birmingham draw

They were unable to break down a 10-man Bolton side, there for the taking, while the first Birmingham goal on Saturday, so soon after the break, left those of an Ipswich persuasion with a sinking feeling. It seemed inevitable the much-anticipated first win would slip from their grasp and so it proved.

You have to think the lack of a win played at least some part in these games, be it the players struggling to deal with increased expectation or simply not having the confidence that they would see the job through. Its a horribly vicious cycle.

Hurst would be well within his rights to feel as if fate is conspiring against him, too, especially now he has lost two frontline strikers in the space of a week.

Jon Walters will be a massive loss to Hurst, both on and off the pitch, while Ellis Harrisons ankle injury has robbed the Ipswich manager of the veterans natural replacement at a time when scoring goals has not exactly been easy. That burden will seemingly rest on the shoulders of Kayden Jackson now.

Hurst insisted post-match at Birmingham that there were positives to take despite the nature of the draw, and he was right.

A first away point, two goals on the road for the first time, a first Ipswich goal for Jon Nolan and a glimpse of just whats possible when he gets up to support the lone striker and makes late runs into the box.

Ipswich are unbeaten in three, are somehow creeping up the table despite not winning games, are hard to beat, are certainly not being blown away in matches and are not yet detached in the relegation zone as a result.

That will soon change should that win remain illusive. You can take three points in 90 minutes but it took Ipswich 12 days and 270 minutes of football to secure their last three.

Its natural to overlook small signs of progress when the winless weight is dangling over the side, but they are certainly there.

This was always going to be a long-term project. It was always a voyage into the unknown once it became clear a change was needed at Portman Road after nearly six years of Mick McCarthy.

Feathers were always going to be ruffled, tough decisions made, not everybody would be happy. Maybe thats what was needed – its certainly what you would expect given the team are yet to win a game.

MORE: Hurst could explore free agent market with Harrison ruled out for two months with ankle ligament injury

My colleague Stuart Watson referenced Bruce Tuckmans team-development model in this column a week ago.

A new leadership structure has been formed. Were certainly in the eye of the storm right now but there were small signs at Birmingham on Saturday that some of Hursts methods are becoming the norm.

To say Ipswich are firmly in the perform stage of Tuckmans model would certainly be a stretch at this stage, though.

Baby steps, yes, but Hurst will know himself bigger strides need to be made with considerable urgency.

Kayden Jackson fails to connect with Freddie Sears on a good breakaway chance at Birmingham Picture Pagepix

Two goals to the good at half-time and the home crowd booing – it was all looking so good for Ipswich Town at the break.

Jon Nolans superb finish and a strike from Matthew Pennington had given Paul Hursts men the advantage, offering real hope that the winless run was about to end.

They hadnt blown their hosts away, thats for sure, with Garry Monks side perhaps looking the more threatening throughout the first 45 minutes on balance, but it was an impressive, solid, away performance.

But, just three minutes into the second period, Lukas Jutkiewiczs strike gave the home crowd real hope and lifted the atmosphere inside St Andrews.

The strikers second, following a scramble from a Birmingham corner, left you worried whether the Blues could even escape with a point, especially after Matthew Pennington was shown a second yellow card.

They ultimately did following 20 minutes of sustained home pressure, while the introduction of Freddie Sears ensured the Blues maintained an attacking presence

But, from 2-0 up at the break, this has to feel like two points dropped and a massive opportunity missed.

In recent weeks Hursts side had been much more solid from set pieces, having previously conceded seven of their first nine goals from free-kicks or corners.

But Jotas whipped deliveries were a threat all afternoon, as the defensive trio of Michael Morrison, Harlee Dean and Kristian Pedersen all went forward and caused problems alongside big striker Jutkiewicz.

Toto Nsiala and Trevoh Chalobah were the notable Ipswich players who cleared well from set-pieces throughout the afternoon, with the Blues often scrambling to clear the ball from danger but just about dealing with the threat. But it felt like only a matter of time before they would be made to pay.

It looked for all the world as if Morrison had equalised Nolans opener when he towered above Luke Chambers to head past Gerken, only for Jonas Knudsen to fly in and superbly clear the ball off the line. He had no right to make that clearance and the Blues were living dangerously.

Jutkiewiczs second goal came from a corner which the Blues could not clear as Dean Gerken failed to get a convincing punch as the ball came out of the sun. Multiple defenders were attracted to the same ball, Chambers and then Chalobah made last-ditch clearances before the striker could slam home.

From then on every Jota delivery threatened, with the visitors ultimately managing to navigate them and escape with a point.

The biggest positive of all would have been for the Blues to convert their half-time advantage into three points. It didnt happen.

The Blues drew their sixth game of the season, theyre unbeaten in three and scored two goals away from home to take a point on the road for the first time under Hurst.

Theyve moved up a place in the Championship table, to 22nd, and are not cut adrift from the pack despite going 10 games without a win.

Nolans first goal for the Blues was a superb finish and saw the midfielder do something his manager highlighted from day one as a key part of how he wants his sides to play, as he arrived in the box late.

Neither he or the rest of the Ipswich midfield have done that anywhere near enough during the opening weeks of the season and must do on a more consistent basis if they are to support the lone striker.

Hurst will be the first to insist these are things not to get overly excited about as they still search for a maiden three points, with big games against Middlesbrough and Swansea to come before the international break.

On the one hand he made three hugely impressive saves to keep the hosts out, including one in the final minutes as he stuck out a hand to push Che Adams late effort away.

But on the other his unconvincing punch from Jotas free-kick allowed Jutkiewicz to ultimately bundle the ball home for the Birmingham equaliser.

Hurst revealed post-match that his goalkeeper had struggled with the sun for the second Birmingham goal but, even taking that into consideration he would expect to do better.

To lose Ellis Harrison for two months in the same week Jon Walters was ruled out for six with an achilles injury is a major blow to Hurst. He could be forgiven for thinking fate is against him at this moment.

Harrison has suffered an ankle ligament problem in training and that, coupled with the loss of Walters, means Hurst is now without his two physical forwards.

Kayden Jackson and Freddie Sears are both of a different mould, meaning Hurst will now have to look to the free agent market to bolster is striking department.

The cupboard is bare in that respect, with former Blue Darren Bent, Victor Anichebe and Gabby Agbonlahor some of the more notable names there.

Ben Morris is on loan at Forest Green, Aaron Drinan is in the National League with Sutton United and Ben Folami is now with a young Australia side for the next month.

Jordan Roberts is a potential option, given he played as a central striker for Crawley last season and has done so for the Ipswich Under 23s this season.

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