|Ipswich Town 1 v 0 Blackpool|
Saturday, 16th February 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Martin and Loach Missing for Blackpool Clash
Friday, 15th Feb 2013 15:45
Town will again be without Lee Martin and Scott Loach when Blackpool visit Portman Road on Saturday, however the duo may be for for Tuesday's home game against Watford. Martin, who manager Mick McCarthy says has been an important member of his side, has a hamstring injury, while Loach sprained a thumb in training just over a week ago.
McCarthy said: “They’re still missing, both of them. Both of them are hopeful for Tuesday, but they are out of this game.
“I think they missed Lee as much as they missed me against Middlesbrough, which wasn’t much, to be quite honest, because we won it 4-0.
“But we do miss his energy and his ability to get us up the pitch and to open the opposition up by either the positions he gets himself into or the pace he has. He’s done very, very well for me, so I’d like him fit for the next 14 games.”
This week’s training at Playford Road has been affected by flooded pitches at Playford Road and has mostly taken place in the dome, however, the squad were back out on the grass this morning.
McCarthy will be weighing up whether to stick with the team which lost a tight game 1-0 at Blackburn last week.
Stephen Henderson looks set to continue in goal with the backline of Richard Stearman, Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith and Aaron Cresswell also expected to continue.
In midfield, the Blues boss will probably again play Guirane N’Daw and Luke Hyam in the middle and skipper Carlos Edwards on the right.
However, he may be considering a change on the left with Daryl Murphy more effective up front when he moved up alongside David McGoldrick at Ewood Park.
The Irishman could start in that role with Aaron Mclean perhaps switching to the wide left role with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Josh Carson and Anthony Wordsworth alternative options, although the ex-Colchester man has played most of his football in the centre in recent years.
Last week’s loss dropped the Blues to 20th in the Championship only a point from the relegation places and it doesn’t surprise the Town manager that his side are still very much in the relegation dogfight.
“I never said for one minute that it was going to be anything other than difficult,” he said. “When we got a few points clear of the drop zone and I was sat in the pressroom I’m sure you [the media] were desperate for me to say it was going to be easy, hunky dory but I never did.
“I’ve never changed my mind regarding the fact that I thought it would go to the end of the season and that we need those 50 points, however we get them. We might need more this season, who knows?
“We still need another five wins or whatever it takes, wins and draws, to get to that 50 points. That hasn’t changed. My thought on it hasn’t changed.”
Blackpool are close to confirming Paul Ince – father of Seasiders winger Tom - as their new manager but caretaker-boss Steve Thompson is set to be in charge for the last time at Portman Road. Ince senior, however, may well be at the game.
Central defender Ian Evatt is out with a knee problem and left-back Bob Harris with an ankle injury. Keeper Matt Gilks, linked with the Blues during the January transfer window, is back after a one-match ban.
Historically, Town have won eight games between the sides (seven in the league), eight have been drawn (eight) and Blackpool have won five (four).
In August, Town’s positive start to the season came to an abrupt end as they were beaten 6-0 by Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
The home side went in front via an Aaron Cresswell own goal before Gary Taylor-Fletcher made it 2-0 just prior to the break.
Tom Ince claimed two goals shortly after half-time – in addition to three assists – Craig Cathcart added a header and sub Nouha Dicko completed the rout in injury time.
Last time at Portman Road in January, Blackpool came from two goals behind to peg the Blues back to a 2-2 draw.
Town looked to have had the game won via a first half own goal by Angel Martinez and a Tommy Smith header after the break, but subs Elliot Grandin and Kevin Phillips claimed a point for the Seasiders.
Former Blues loanee Reece Wabara joined Blackpool on a similar basis from Manchester City last month but is yet to make an appearance for the Tangerines.
Wabara, who is the only player in either squad to have featured for the opposition, made one start and five sub appearances for the Blues between September and January last season.
Saturday’s referee is Robert Madley from West Yorkshire, who has shown 62 yellow cards and three red in 23 games so far this season. He has never previously taken control of a Town game. His older brother Andy refereed the home game against Derby earlier in the season.
Squad from: Henderson, Lee-Barrett, Stearman, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Kisnorbo, Chambers, Smith, N’Daw, Drury, Hyam, Wordsworth, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, Murphy, Chopra, Mclean, McGoldrick, Nouble.
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