UNDERSTANDABLY and justifiably, there have been some strong words flying around this week.

Ipswich Town fans are hurting.

Relegation looks a certainty, barring the most extraordinary of miracles, and supporters are numb and emotional after what happened against Reading on Saturday.

As the fall-out continues, the angry rhetoric is to be expected.

In most cases, it’s largely warranted.

But one thing that’s surprised me a little is the depth of feeling and animosity towards former boss Paul Hurst.

I can’t help thinking that to a point, he’s been cast as a bit of a scapegoat.

Don’t get me wrong.

I completely accept his short reign was ill-fated.

That much is obvious and no-one could suggest otherwise.

One win from 14 games was a dismal return and it was clear to anyone who watched the team that things were intrinsically wrong (I’ll never forget the way I felt watching the 2-0 defeat against QPR. A new personal low).

However, some of the comments I’ve read this week have been too personal and derogatory for my liking.

I don’t think the blame can be laid squarely at Hurst's door.

Without being privy to conversations behind closed doors, I'm not sure it was his choice or decision to sell top talent like Adam Webster or Martyn Waghorn.

It’s hard to keep players when their heads have been turned by vastly-improved salaries.

Webster, in particular, wanted to go and, given his injury problems, it made smart business sense to cash in for an initial £3.5 million fee, with the potential to rise as high as £8m.

Even so, the mood surrounding Hurst’s appointment was the best and most positive I’ve experienced in years. Town needed fresh direction after the Mick McCarthy era.

The brand of signings he made felt right at the time.

Young, bright talent with hunger and a point to prove.

Not all have worked, obviously, but that accusation could also be levelled at both McCarthy and Paul Lambert.

Nevertheless, Trevoh Chalobah has played most games this season, Gwion Edwards has shown flashes of talent, Ellis Harrison has been unfortunate with injuries and Jon Nolan has been particularly impressive in recent weeks. He’s certainly one to watch next season.

As I said earlier, it would be foolish and nonsensical to launch too strong a defence of Hurst.

The shortcomings were blindingly obvious and I wouldn’t disagree with the decision to make a change in October.

However, Hurst wasn’t the hapless, hopeless calamity some have suggested.

Some of the vitriol I’ve read this week has been over-the-top and disrespectful.

Lambert hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since being appointed in the autumn.

He’s made a reconnection with the supporters, for which he deserves great credit.

But there’s been little improvement - defensively, in the final third or in terms of the all-important points tally.

Perhaps that underlines the scale of the job at Portman Road.

It’s a tough gig and while both managers have undoubtedly made mistakes, I suspect much of what goes on is out of their control.