PAUL Jewell is said to be confused and David Stockdale can't explain it.

Well put me down on the list of people struggling to comprehend how Ipswich Town can totally dominate West Ham at Upton Park and then put in an inept shift against Crystal Palace and Millwall just weeks later.

The Blues, in the first half especially, had returned to the dark days of the last few seasons where they had no drive, no creativity and resorted to just pumping aimless balls up to the helpless frontmen. 

In one sense, it was the most dire 45 minutes I have seen all season.

There was no energy, no impetus, passes went astray all over the pitch. I can remember one decent chance all half and that was from Jason Scotland, 40 yards from goal, while at the other end, the nervousness and simple defensive errors had returned. The second half fared little better.

Working out the reasons for the mini-slump, both in terms of performances and now results, is difficult.

The easiest thing to point to is Jewell's ageing squad, the side that started at the New Den had an average age of 30.5 and including just three players under 30.

Based on just 90 minutes of football, it is impossible to say how good Liam Feeney is, but on Saturday he was made to look like a world-beater. The same goes for Jay Simpson, Brian Howard and our local-boy-made-good Liam Trotter.

Pace is an issue, it has been all season, in good times and bad.

Have the opposition sussed out the diamond midfield? Possibly, although it is hard to stray from the simple fact that too many of Jewell's players are underperforming at the same time.

You can talk about systems all day but when that happens, you are always going to struggle.

Stockdale told me that players are buzzing in training but they currently seem to be caught in the headlights when they go over that white line.

Jewell must work out quickly why that is. And with it comes his biggest challenge since becoming Town boss.