Two words that make me shudder, with memories still painfully vivid of Ipswich Town's catastrophic 5-3 defeat at Sincil Bank on December 29.

Not just a bad day at the office... a bad day from the start (akin to locking yourself out of your car and being forced to smash a window, hey Mr Norwood?).

It was a depressing way to end the year and, for further punishment, you don't have to cast your mind back too far to Town's embarrassing FA Cup defeat at Lincoln - then a non-league outfit - in 2017.

Paul Lambert's men gained a measure of revenge by beating the Imps in a cup replay in November.

However, the acid test as to whether they are still a bogey team comes this Saturday, when Michael Appleton's side visit Portman Road for a League One contest.

Can the improving Blues, now unbeaten in four matches, put one over their 'rivals' and, more importantly, put three precious points on the board?

I say definitely.

After a deflating festive period, compounded by that defeat at Lincoln, Lambert's men appear back on course and two recent wins have underlined their credentials for a swift return to the Championship.

In annihilating Accrington, they were positive and free-scoring in front of their own fans.

And in staging a superb second-half comeback at Tranmere last Saturday, they earned their first away League One victory since November.

Different qualities were needed but, in both cases, key ingredients badly needed to sustain a promotion push.

For most of us, Christmas is a time for cheer before the winter blues set in during January.

Ipswich are doing it the other way round and the mood in the camp, and among fans, now seems more positive. Rightly so.

Lambert's men are third and, rather than contemplating a slide down the table, appear more than capable of jousting for the top spots.

Mind you, the next week or so could be key.

Town head to leaders Rotherham on Tuesday before a home game against Peterborough next Saturday.

Posh are just outside the play-offs and fresh from this week's 4-0 routing of second-placed Wycombe.

A trip to Sunderland (sixth) is on the horizon while the likes of Oxford and Burton will hardly be pushovers in February.

It's shaping up to be a thrilling finale but how nice to be heading into those matches with a positive mindset, rather than mounting fears.

Far from the wheels coming off, Town appear to be gaining pace at just the right time.

Let's just hope their old friends don't put a spanner in the works this weekend.