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Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Blackburn Rovers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
A Big Game as Town Look to Halt Slide
Friday, 12th Jan 2018 17:44

Boss Mick McCarthy admits Saturday’s home match against Leeds United is a big game as the Blues look to get back to winning ways after five games without a victory.

Town were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield United in the FA Cup last weekend, their third successive defeat after Championship losses at home to Derby and at Fulham.

The Blues have dropped to 12th, now seven points behind tomorrow’s opponents, who occupy the final play-off place and the season is in danger of drifting towards another mid-table finish.

“We need one win [to spark things back to life],” admitted McCarthy, a boyhood Whites fan. “Tomorrow’s a big game for us, they’re bringing a big crowd, it should be a good game because they’re going well, they’ve just got in the top six.

“They’re bringing a big, big crowd, it’ll be a good atmosphere tomorrow and we need to win. We’ve had three defeats on the bounce, we need to get back to winning ways.”

Leeds, who have been given a larger than usual allocation of 3,500 tickets all across the Cobbold Stand, are without a win in their last three in all competitions - they were beaten 2-1 by League Two Newport County in the FA Cup last week - but prior to that won four in a row at the end of a six-game unbeaten streak.

“They’ve been in good form,” McCarthy continued. “I think they've got a good team, but there was nothing in the game there [in September when Town lost 3-2].

“The reality is that I thought we were the better side. We took the game to them in the second half and it was mistake from a corner, we let our guard down.

“But we were really pushing. I’d settle for playing as well as we did up there, but with a better result.”

Town’s injury woes continue - keeper Bartosz Bialkowski misses Saturday’s game with what's understood to be a minor calf problem - but the Blues boss says his squad is capable of victories even without their missing players.

“I’m confident we’ll get wins with them, of course, because pretty much it’s the same team that was earlier in the season,” he insisted.

“We’ve not had Emyr Huws for too many games or Tom Adeyemi or Teddy Bishop. But, wow, wouldn’t it be nice to have those boys fit because they’re good players.”

McCarthy has confirmed that Dean Gerken will make his first league start of the season in goal having played in the Carabao Cup ties at Luton and Crystal Palace. The 32-year-old’s most recent Championship match was the 1-0 defeat to Rotherham in April last year.

With Jordan Spence serving the second game of his two-match ban, Dominic Iorfa will continue at right-back with Myles Kenlock set to be on the left.

Skipper Luke Chambers will be joined at the centre of the defence by Jonas Knudsen with Adam Webster injured and Colorado Rapids target Tommy Smith having been ill.

McCarthy seems likely to return to his 4-2-3-1 system with Leeds usually utilising a similar formation.

That will probably see Cole Skuse joined by Callum Connolly, although Luke Hyam impressed his manager having started his first game in 19 months against Sheffield United last week.

Behind lone out and out striker Joe Garner McCarthy is likely to play Bersant Celina and David McGoldrick either side of Martyn Waghorn.

Striker Aaron Drinan will be hoping to make his Blues debut from the bench, while Chris Smith, who has been recalled from his loan spell at Chelmsford, will also be among the subs.

Leeds will be without midfielder Samuel Saiz, who is banned for six matches for spitting at an opponent during last week’s FA Cup defeat.

Full-back Luke Ayling has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing ankle surgery, while Ronaldo Vieira (knee), Caleb Ekuban (broken foot), Matthew Pennington (illness) and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (ankle) are also sidelined.

Winger Stuart Dallas could be in line to return but new signing Laurens De Bock, who joined from Club Brugge earlier this week, is yet to train with his new team-mates and won’t be involved having travelled back to Belgium.

Leeds head coach Thomas Christiansen wants his side to put last week’s embarrassing FA Cup exit behind them: “We know how Ipswich will play, it is always important to win a game, especially after going out of the FA Cup how we did.

“It is extra motivation for the players to come out and show their worth in this game.

"We are expecting a tough match, like the game we had at home, but we have to go there with our ideas and try to take a good result.”

Historically, Leeds have the superior record in the fixture, winning 32 (31 in the league) clashes between the teams. Town have been victorious on 27 (22) occasions and 21 (18) games have ended in draws.

In September at Elland Road, McGoldrick and Garner were on target but couldn’t prevent the Blues from falling to a 3-2 defeat.

The Whites went in front via Pierre-Michel Lasogga on 13, McGoldrick equalised on the half hour, before Kalvin Phillips’s goal two minutes later gave the home side a 2-1 half-time lead.

Town improved after the break but went 3-1 behind when Bialkowski dropped a corner over the line in the 67th minute. Garner pulled one back four minutes later but the Blues couldn’t find an equaliser.

Last time at Portman Road, in February last year, Freddie Sears netted his first goal for four months as the Blues and Leeds drew 1-1.

The striker turned home Grant Ward’s right-wing cross in the ninth minute but Dallas equalised against the run of play on 42 with Town having much the better of the chances in the second half, McGoldrick going closest to winning it when he hit the bar.

Blues assistant manager Terry Connor was with his hometown club between 1979 and 1983, scoring 22 goals in 108 games.

Town fitness coach Andy Liddell is also from Leeds and is another boyhood supporter of the club, his father Gary having played for the Elland Road outfit.

The Blues support will be augmented by 110 Fortuna Düsseldorf fans making their annual pilgrimage to Portman Road. Joining them for the trip is former Fortuna defender Günter Kuczinski, who made 121 Bundesliga appearances for the club between 1980 and 1986.

The Fortuna fans will be in Section 6 during the match and Bears Pool and Snooker beforehand, while a number of them will be in the FanZone and appearing on BBC Radio Suffolk’s Life’s a Pitch.

Boots2Africa will be holding one of their donation events prior to the match in the FanZone.

Saturday’s referee is Robert Jones from Merseyside, who has shown 71 yellow cards and five red in 26 games so far this season.

Jones, who has only refereed nine previous games at Championship level, was the man in the middle for December’s 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, his only Blues match to date, showing two yellow cards to home players before being replaced by fourth official Geoff Eltringham at half-time.

Probable squad: Gerken, M Crowe, Iorfa, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Knudsen, C Smith, Skuse, Connolly, Hyam, Bru, McDonnell, Celina, McGoldrick, Waghorn, Garner, Sears, Drinan.

Photo: TWTD

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Radlett_blue added 18:02 - Jan 12
"Leeds have been in good form".
Yes, Mick, in their last 3 games they were knocked out of the cup by 4th tier Newport County, had a dire 0-0 at home to mid table Forest & lost 1-0 to bottom club Birmingham. Cracking form.
So, either say something sensible or shut up!

cat added 18:04 - Jan 12
Spot on, it is a big game, it always is when ‘Dirty Leeds’ come to town and we need something out of it. Take the game to them and play to our strengths, this way it will also help to protect our suspect defence. Gerk, Chambers and Skuse forming the spine of the team, bet Mick won’t sleep tonight!!

howdonblue added 18:21 - Jan 12
No kidding he won’t sleep tonight !

1-2 Leeds

Oh my god Gerken in the side .

oldegold added 18:42 - Jan 12
If you send your team on the pitch without any apparent will to win a match ( See Sheff Utd Match ) and attempt to try and score then you might as well stay at home.
Modern football has moved on and i suggest our present incumbent takes a look at how Bristol City took the game to mighty Man City and gave them the shock of their lives. The Robins set out with fire in their bellies, attacked from the off and played heroically.
Our manager could learn a few lessons from that match to see how modern football has evolved and what you can achieve by trying to win and score on goal....not even a shot on target against the Yorshiremen...pathetic


midastouch added 19:06 - Jan 12
There's no points on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow;
there's no points on the starboard bow, starboard bow, Bring Back Jim!

midastouch added 19:25 - Jan 12
It's football, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it; it's football, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, Captain.

jas0999 added 19:25 - Jan 12
Two teams on a woeful run. Should be a home win, but that would require the manager attacking from the off. Let’s hope we do, because Leeds - despite being in the top six - aren’t that great. Usually beat them at PR. 2-1.

midastouch added 19:43 - Jan 12
I think the last time I enjoyed watching Ipswich play properly was when Escape to Victory was on over Xmas! I hope the Germans coming over this weekend aren't expecting that level of performance again as if so they're going to be disappointed! ;-)

warktheline added 19:44 - Jan 12
Desperately need a result tomorrow ! I'm fearing second half of season, the wheels could come off sooner than some may think!

heathen66 added 19:44 - Jan 12 on !!!

joepublic added 20:26 - Jan 12
If Bart and Smith are sold after being pulled out of a must win game then it will say alot about the clubs aspirations.
Hope im wrong but it feels like even our soul is up for sale.

Rensham added 20:38 - Jan 12
once the manager shows he couldn't care less, how do you get the team to climb mountains anymore?

portmanteau added 21:19 - Jan 12
We can only drop one place lads but after that our buffer points are all used up and it will become itchy bum time. Ted Phillips, now there was a player. Standing in Churchmans watching him thundering into the box was football as it should be played. Present team should be locked in a room and made to watch Ted in action. 44 goals in one season I believe.

bobble added 21:21 - Jan 12
2-0 to leeds......we are finished this season already, we are so many points off the top spot we might as well be in a different division...its all about which manager we get next year and what happens then, not this slow death now..

KiwiBlue2 added 22:09 - Jan 12
If we really take the game to them we can win this comfortably. Harry's preview quoted comments about a shaky keeper and defenders that we can exploit but it will take a positive approach from us and therein lies the problem. Hopefully the round of applause for Ted will fire our lads up

PJewellisaGod added 23:37 - Jan 12
Good to hear such an optimistic post. I don't share that optimism but I have marked you up anyway for being so positive.

KiwiBlue2 added 06:50 - Jan 13
Thanks PJ. I appreciate that things are a bit grim there and sympathise with most of the concerns expressed on here with the gaming company shirt the plumbing of new depths. Even allowing for the numbers injured we still have some good players and pose a threat if they are motivated and set up properly. Just hope that the applause for Ted fires them up and they rip into Leeds. Thanks again for your kind thought

midastouch added 10:59 - Jan 13
Good points KiwiBlue2. Let's hope they pull out all the stops for Ted. :-)

madmouse1959 added 12:19 - Jan 13
Of course McCarthy just has to repeat what he always says about the opposition "They,re a good team or they are in good form etc" With a depleted defence i can see the midfield sitting too deep again , so i would think it is going to be yet another frustrating game to watch.

Surco72 added 12:34 - Jan 13
Usual boring repeated nonsense from MM , he said the same about Rotherham last season when we were the only team in the league to give them any points away !!
I believe we set up too negatively as we give every team so much respect , but if MM is telling the team every one we play are great its no surprise .
Think our back 6 today are really poor and lower league standard so they will probably keep a clean sheet !!

Rensham added 12:36 - Jan 13
After the performance of MM at the press conference, we are bound to lose. Pathetic,
"Piss or get off the pot, MM"
ITFC 1 Leeds Utd 4

dirtydingusmagee added 12:42 - Jan 13
and in the aftermath it will probably be announced by Milne that Bart has regained fitness and been sold for an undisclosed fee !, dark days .

Gazelle added 12:46 - Jan 13
There's a sentence in the Muhren/Thyssen book 'Game Changers' where some of our fans were calling for Sir Bobby to be sacked. If our fickle fans could be like that with the greatest manager we've ever had what chance does anyone stand at this club.

Bert added 13:17 - Jan 13
Certainly a big game with a team that is very frail. Like others I am so sad about the sponsorship deal and have written to Milne. With 3,500 Leeds fans in today let's make some noise for once even if we are lacking. Bart and Smith are definitely injured or out for proper reasons so just accept things for once for what they are. I need cheering up !

HALLSJ added 13:53 - Jan 13
Got an away win in a five folder, hope it's us who spoil it for me

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