Town Again Set to Be Unchanged for Trip to Cardiff
Friday, 14th Oct 2011 14:10
Town are expected to field the same starting XI for the fifth successive match for the first time since 1998 when they visit Cardiff on Saturday. Blues boss Paul Jewell will be looking for his side to win their fourth consecutive game on Bluebirds territory and record their sixth victory on the trot over the Welsh side at all venues.
Jewell’s men go to Cardiff in confident mood having picked up 10 points from their last 12 and the Town manager says his side will go with a positive approach: “We want to go to Cardiff and take the game to them. The way we’re playing at the moment we want to take the game to the opposition.
“I don’t think we’re a team which is best at sitting back and soaking up pressure. We want to be a team which is on the front foot, getting our full-backs forward, with plenty of movement from the front players and rotation in midfield.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to do and in the last four games we’ve done it successfully. It’s not going to happen every game but that’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
A lot has been made of the Blues’ diamond midfield, a formation Cardiff have used at times as well, but Jewell feels too much is made of that aspect of the game: “I’ve read our reports and they’ve changed their system a couple of times.
“The talk is always about systems, but it’s about players and about being able to adapt to any situation on the pitch at any given time.
“An awful lot is spoken about systems but what we want is people taking responsibility on the pitch and helping their team-mates out, rather than just looking after their own job and not moving from that position.
“I felt at times we had been playing in straight lines and one of the reasons we changed the system was that we wanted to get more rotation, wanted to get the full-backs forward, and in the last four games it’s worked.”
Wales play France in a semi-final at the rugby World Cup in New Zealand earlier in the day, which Jewell could had some bearing on the atmosphere: “If they’ve been drinking all day, I guess it won’t be subdued!
“Last year was the first time I’ve been there. Ninian Park was always quite an old-fashioned intimidating ground. The new ground’s nice and it’s up to the players of each team to try and get their fans going.
“I’m sure if Cardiff start well there will be plenty of noise. Hopefully, we can start well so there won’t as much. It’s one of those things we’ve got to deal with.
"It’ll be a bit of a strange day for their supporters because there’ll be a lot of people up early watching the rugby and if they win that they’ll probably go to the game in good spirits. If they don’t, they might be miserable, although I don’t really care about the rugby.”
The Town manager has seen Cardiff a few times this season and says they’ve achieved some decent results: “I saw them play West Ham at the start of the season and they’re very difficult to beat. They beat Southampton, so they’ve had a couple of scalps.
“They’ve got Kenny Miller there and Robert Earnshaw, who at this level are proven goalscorers. Peter Whittingham, who I’m a big admirer of, I think he’s a terrific player and tried to get in the summer.
“They’ve got good players, Mark Hudson’s a good centre-half. It’s going to be a difficult game and I think Malky’s been fortunate that he’s gone into a club which has got a good team and he’s continued Dave Jones’s theme from the last four or five years.
“Even though they’ve lost Chopra and they’ve lost Jay Bothroyd, they’ve replaced them with quality players.”
Jewell is again set to name David Stockdale in goal, Aaron Cresswell at left-back, Carlos Edwards at right-back and Danny Collins and Ibrahima Sonko at the centre of the defence.
In midfield, Jimmy Bullard will sit behind Lee Bowyer and Keith Andrews with Grant Leadbitter ahead of them. Jason Scotland will partner Michael Chopra up front.
The fitness of one-time Cardiff loanee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (ankle) and loanee right-back Reece Wabara (hamstring) was due to be checked on Friday morning before the Blues flew to Wales, the on-loan Manchester City man subsequently tweeting that he was on the flight. Both are likely to be subs if they are considered OK to make the trip.
Daryl Murphy is over his pulled hamstring, while Mark Kennedy is back in training after his calf injury, but Lee Martin’s not yet ready to make his return after his recent eye problem.
Cardiff boss and former Canary Malky Mackay is expecting a tricky game: "It'll be another tough test. Paul Jewell is a respected manager who I've come up against before.
“He's brought in quite a lot of experienced players in what is a very changed Ipswich team, which brings its own challenges.
“We are facing well known players, each of whom has notched a vast amount of games at a high level.
"When you look at it, they could be considered the most experienced batch of players in our division.
“Here at Cardiff we have a blend of experience, youth and exuberance, which is something that in the longer term I very much like.
“The key for them is that I feel great things could come once they've really come together, played regularly together and learned each other’s game, a situation we're trying to fast-track.
"We'll be looking to give the home support something to enjoy. For our last outing here [a 2-1 win] against Southampton, [assistant manager] David Kerslake commented on the atmosphere and noise before kick-off which was excellent, added to by the visiting fans.
“With the noise generated it felt and looked like a real top of the table clash, which is an atmosphere I think we can build on. It can be hugely beneficial to us."
Cardiff, who are a place above the Blues in 10th in the table, also on 16 points but with a goal difference better by five, could be without Scottish international striker Kenny Miller, who has a groin strain.
Defender Andrew Taylor, winger Craig Conway and strikers Rudy Gestede and Robert Earnshaw are all over niggles, while midfielder Darcy Blake is expected to be fine after a calf problem.
Town have the upper hand historically, winning 19 (17 in the league), drawing 10 (10) and losing 10 (nine). The Blues have won their last five games against Cardiff and their last three against the Bluebirds in Wales, two at their new stadium and the final ever competitive match at Ninian Park.
In March, two second-half Jimmy Bullard goals saw the Blues to a 2-0 win at Cardiff in front of the Sky cameras.
Town had been very much second best in the opening period but once Bullard’s brilliant 67th minute strike had put them in front the Blues were always in control and the then on-loan Hull man sealed it on 86 with a deflected freekick.
In September at Portman Road, Jason Scotland’s second strike for Town and an Adam Matthews own goal saw the Blues to a 2-0 victory over the Bluebirds and into second place in the Championship.
After a slow start Town, who had been denied what looked like a certain penalty when Connor Wickham was felled inside the area in the first half, went ahead after the break when Matthews headed past his own keeper, Scotland sealing the victory with 16 minutes remaining.
Mark Kennedy joined the Blues from Cardiff in the summer of 2010 for £75,000, while Arran Lee-Barrett was with the Bluebirds between 2003 and 2005 but without making the first team.
Michael Chopra joined Town from Cardiff for £1 million in the summer, while Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was on loan with the Bluebirds last season, making nine starts and seven sub appearances, scoring two goals. The former Arsenal man hit out at critical Bluebirds fans after his spell was up at the end of the season.
Welsh Town coach Sean McCarthy spent time on trial with Cardiff as a youngster, while James Hollman is now the Bluebirds’ goalkeeper-coach having been in a similar role with Town until the end of last season. Cardiff’s assistant boss David Kerslake made three starts and six sub appearances for George Burley’s Town side in the 1997/98 season.
Saturday’s referee is Dean Whitestone from Northampton, who has shown 25 yellow cards and one red in 10 games so far this season.
Whitestone’s most recent Town match was the Blues’ 2-0 home defeat to Plymouth in March 2010. His cards were also kept in his pocket during the 1-1 draw at Reading earlier that season.
In November 2008, Whitestone showed two yellow cards and awarded a penalty to each side as Town drew 1-1 with Sheffield United at Portman Road, Tommy Miller and James Beattie, in the final minute, converting the spotkicks.
Squad from: Stockdale, Lee-Barrett, Edwards, Cresswell, Wabara, Ainsley, Kennedy, Collins, Sonko, Delaney, Bullard, Andrews, Bowyer, Leadbitter, Emmanuel-Thomas, Murphy, Chopra, Scotland, Ellington.
Photo: Action Images
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