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Ipswich Town 2 v 2 Blackburn Rovers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Town Face Tigers Looking to End Home Goalless Run
Monday, 12th Mar 2018 17:52

Town go into Tuesday’s rearranged home game against Hull City aiming to close the gap to the play-off places and looking to end a run of four matches at Portman Road without a goal.

The Blues, who last went four league games on their own turf without finding the net in November and December 1984, most recently scored at home through Bersant Celina in the 1-0 victory over Leeds in mid-January, so far their only goal at Portman Road in 2018. Going back further, they have netted only twice in their last eight in all competitions at home.

Speaking at his spiky pre-match press conference at lunchtime, manager Mick McCarthy admitted he doesn’t know why home goals have dried up at a time when the Blues, 12th, nine points off the play-offs with Tuesday's game in hand on sixth-placed Middlesbrough, are one of the in-form teams on their travels.

“As I said on Saturday, I’ve no idea, we’re doing all the same things,” he said. “Maybe Joe Garner not playing, maybe Waggy’s played loads of games, who knows?

“I don’t know. I can’t give you that answer, we’re doing it the same way as we’ve always been doing and we’ll keep trying to score.”

One thing which has changed in recent weeks has been the system the Blues have been utilising, McCarthy having switched from a 4-2-3-1 formation to 3-5-2.

Asked whether that has changed the balance of the side to make it less attacking and more defensive, he responded: “I’m using the players I’ve got pretty effectively. It might seem not at home, but that’s the way it is.”

Hull climbed to 18th, six points off the bottom three following their 4-3 victory over Norwich City at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday, a result McCarthy expects to give them a boost.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “I wasn’t too unhappy about it either, I have to be honest, except for the fact they’ll be cock-a-hoop.

“And they’ve got good players. Let me tell you, they’re not in the position they’re in due to a lack of talent, that’s for certain. For whatever reason it is and I don’t know.

“Nigel Adkins is a tried and tested Championship manager, he certainly got a performance from them on Saturday and I watched them against Sheffield United on the telly.

“He seems to be turning them around and they have got good players, so it’ll be a difficult game.”

The way they came from 3-1 down to defeat the Canaries showed a team spirit which McCarthy expects to see them escape the embarrassment of dropping from the Premier League to League One in successive seasons.

“I’d be surprised now after that result if they get dragged into the relegation zone,” he considered. “I think that will have galvanised them and they’ll pull away from that.”

The Town boss doesn’t think Adkins, who took charge in December after Leonid Slutsky’s sacking, has changed too much since becoming boss.

“I don’t think so, I’ve not watched all the games, we’ve seen a few of them when we’re doing our analysis and read the reports,” he said.

“Championship savvy, knowledge, how games are played, how you’re playing them, how you get results in them. I think that’s what Nigel will have brought, organisation. And he’s tried and tested, he’s been a good manager.”

Speaking after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Sheffield United, McCarthy said he dismissed taking a gung-ho approach to the match. But having failed to win that match is now the time to throw more caution to the wind?

“I think somewhere between the lines,” the Blues boss responded. “You all want to be tacticians telling me how we should be playing. I try and win the game, every single week, that’s what I do. Every week we play to win.”

If Town don’t make the top six, does finishing as high as possible mean much? “Yes, it does, to me. Personal pride to the players, absolutely. How many games we can win and not losing them, that as well.

“I always get reminded when I come in here if we’ve not won one or how many we’ve lost. Nobody’s asked me about an unbeaten run or being in a good bit of form. That’s strange that, I always find that a little bit peculiar.”

Does he understand fans’ disappointment with the manner of the performance in the goalless draw with the Blades at a time when the Blues needed to build on the back-to-back away wins at Preston and Sheffield Wednesday?

“Well, I say again, we’ve played exactly the same way as we did at Sheffield Wednesday and played really well and won,” he said.

“Sheffield United, who had lost 3-0 at Fulham on the Tuesday night, came and they were toughened up, certainly, and they’re a good side. So, we tried to win the game. But everybody else will want to try and pick the team, I get that.”

Town and Hull drew 2-2 at the KCOM Stadium earlier in the season with Jordan Spence netting an equaliser two minutes from the end.

“When you equalise in the 88th minute it’s a point gained,” McCarthy reflected. “We played well that day.”

Bartosz Bialkowski will be in goal with the Town boss again set to field a back three of Cameron Carter-Vickers, skipper Luke Chambers and Adam Webster.

Jordan Spence will start at right wing-back - Dominic Iorfa is out with the groin problem he suffered on Saturday - with Jonas Knudsen expected to return from Myles Kenlock on the left, the Danish international having recovered from the hamstring problem which saw him miss the Blades match.

McCarthy could recall Luke Hyam and Grant Ward in the centre of midfield for Callum Connolly and Stephen Gleeson with Cole Skuse set to continue in his usual holding role.

Up front, Martyn Waghorn could be joined by Freddie Sears, who impressed from the bench at Sheffield Wednesday a week ago but was an unused sub on Saturday.

Hull City boss Adkins says his side are by no means out of the woods despite victory at the weekend and the six-point gap to the bottom three.

“The pressure isn’t off us. We’ve got to get ourselves ready to go again,” he told the Hull Daily Mail.

“Listen, we’ve only won two games away from home in two years so we’ve got two matches coming up which are both tough games.

“I told the players to enjoy the moment on Saturday, reflect on the performance, but then to draw a line and get ready for the next challenge.

“It’s going to be tough down there. Mick McCarthy’s teams are always tough to beat. Can we go on and put in another good performance that gives us the opportunity to win a game of football?

“There’s no one getting carried away. They’ve enjoyed the feeling of winning and that camaraderie is important. We were asked questions as a group and the players responded in a great way.”

Striker Abel Hernandez, who netted two penalties in the victory over the Canaries, may only be on the bench this evening having only just returned from an achilles injury.

Keeper Allan McGregor is expected to return having missed the Norwich match, when he was replaced by ex-Canary David Marshall, due to a minor injury.

Historically, Hull just have the edge on the Blues having won 15 of the games between the teams (14 in the league), while Town have been victorious eight times (eight) and a further 11 (11) matches have been draws.

The Blues are without a win in 10 games against the Tigers in all competitions, the East Yorkshire side having won seven of them.

At the KCOM Stadium in November, Spence netted an 88th minute equaliser as Town and Hull drew 2-2, the Blues' first draw for 25 matches.

Town got off to the perfect start when David McGoldrick put them ahead in the sixth minute but the Tigers levelled through Jarrod Bowen on 34, then went in front via Nouha Dicko six minutes after the restart.

McGoldrick missed a penalty in the 75th minute but Spence’s third goal of the season grabbed Town their first draw of the season with two minutes remaining.

Prior to that, the teams last met in February 2016 at Portman Road with the visitors on their way to the Premier League via the play-offs.

Mohamed Diamé’s goal three minutes after the restart was enough to see Hull, who were then the division’s leaders, to a 1-0 victory.

Town went closest to scoring before the break when Daryl Murphy hit the post, but having gone in front the Tigers dominated the second half.

Blues 12-goal joint-top scorer Waghorn spent a month on loan with the Tigers early in the 2011/12 season, scoring once in five starts.

No one in the Hull squad has played for the Blues but ex-Town frontman Richard Naylor coaches the U18s at their academy.

Saturday’s referee is Jeremy Simpson from Lancashire, who has shown 143 yellow cards and six red in 34 games so far this season.

Simpson has only refereed two previous Town games in which he awarded a total of four penalties.

His most recent Blues match was the 1-0 defeat at Rotherham in which he awarded a seventh-minute spot-kick when Josh Emmanuel - now on loan with the Millers - bundled over Jon Taylor. Dean Gerken saved Danny Ward’s kick.

Loanee Toumani Diagouraga was the only Blues player booked in that fixture, along with two Rotherham players.

Simpson’s only Town match prior to that was the 2-1 defeat at Reading in September 2016 in which he notoriously awarded three penalties which led to the game’s three goals.

Danny Williams won the match with the third and spot-kick deep in second-half injury time, Knudsen having been adjudged to have hauled down Joey van den Berg at a corner.

In first-half injury time Ward had been harshly penalised for handball for the game’s first penalty and Garath McCleary put the Royals in front.

Brett Pitman fired home Town’s - also contentious - spot-kick five minutes after the break for a foul by Tyler Blackett.

Simpson also booked nine players in that game, five Royals and Knudsen, Chambers, Christophe Berra and Skuse.

Squad from: Bialkowski, M Crowe, Spence, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Carter-Vickers, Webster, Skuse, Connolly, Hyam, Bru, Gleeson, Nydam, Ward, Celina, Waghorn, Garner, Sears.

Photo: TWTD



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Mark added 18:18 - Mar 12
> Mick McCarthy admitted he doesn’t know why home goals have dried up

Could it be we are starting with 5 defenders and 3 defensive midfielders behind 1 attacking midfielder and 1 striker? Oh, sorry, MM said at the press conference that it is not allowed to ask him about tactics.
30

jas0999 added 18:27 - Mar 12
Let’s hope we select a number of attack minded players then.
9

heathen66 added 18:53 - Mar 12
Obviously has a different definition of Win to what I have.
Perhaps he thinks that if we hold out for a 0-0 draw then we 'WIN' a point.
Therefore every game he goes out to win...albeit...just a point.
It is all about interpretation
Some will say it is a 3-5-2, but with 5 defenders and one striker it is actually 5-3-0-1-1
It is all about interpretation
5

positivity added 19:10 - Mar 12
who would you pick for this one then?
i'd go for:
bart
usual back 3
wing backs: connolly & kenlock
midfield: skuse, nydam (if fit or hyam), ward
up front: waghorn & sears

from the bench: give drinan a go , maybe try knudsen at lcb
2

OldClactonBlue added 19:17 - Mar 12
How can you play 9 defenders and say you go out to win? You might want to win but you're hardly giving yourself the best chance.
18

pragmatic added 19:52 - Mar 12
Posivity at least you comment on tomorrows game unlike most of the usual negativity people will have to be patient b/4 they know of more reasons to continually knock the club, oh apparently it’s meant to rain tomorrow let’s blame itfc for that as well, I say do something positive get behind the team or maybe if it makes you feel better don’t go!!
-10

Dissboyitfc added 20:12 - Mar 12
Pragmatic he said after Sats game he was happy with 0-0 and going for it is never going to happen while he is is charge! where do you think the negativity is coming from? It starts on the pitch and how he sets his teams up. Him leaving cant happen quick enough!
15

Daddio added 21:07 - Mar 12
Given the results over the last couple of years it would be difficult for anyone to ask him about our 'unbeaten run' or 'good form'!
6

baxter7 added 21:09 - Mar 12
9 defensive players 1 keeper and 1 striker we should end the goal famine all right mcarthy your a dinosaur go and do one
6

braveblue added 21:43 - Mar 12
Does MM know anything. What an arrogant man he is. Two goals at home in 8 games and he cannot see an issue!! You are playing with a back 8 you idiot. Pack up and go.
6

rfretwell added 22:46 - Mar 12
Richard Naylor gave us great service up front then in defence when his knee problems slowed him down. He would walk into our current attack!
7

unknown100 added 00:17 - Mar 13
I don't think the fans are asking for millions to be spent, I don't even think we are necessarily asking for promotion immediately, I think we would just like to see a playing style, we don't have to be a team like Man City, just one that has a bit of creativity, flair, tactics on the team we are playing, it's been a very long time since I went to a game and thought 'wow, great football' or even 'we did our homework against a team better than us and out thought them' I think McCarthy will stay and I think next season will see us plumit to the next stage of 16th 17th position, I hope I'm wrong, I think we will get a Gary Megson or someone of that calibre, I don't see us getting someone with flair but only time will tell
7

bobble added 04:13 - Mar 13
0-1 loss then....yawn...
5

therein61 added 07:54 - Mar 13
So great leader you are going to set up for your usual point and hope we don't get hammered!!! why not try taking the game to the opposition for a change.
4

BlueMachines added 08:00 - Mar 13
Classic Muck. "Nothing has changed". Except the fact that you have changed the formation to the detriment of the team to shoe horn in your favourites. CCV and Webster should be the centre back pairing as the 2 best centre backs at the club. But couldn't possibly drop great bloke Luke! Whilst I like Chambo he is the weakest link and therefore should make way at the current time.
3

MickMillsTash added 08:14 - Mar 13
Webster looked out of position playing on the left at Sheffield Weds - improved defender this season but still prone to mistakes. in a 4 I think it is a risk if Carter Vickers plays on the right
Having said that - and especially in a 5 at the back - we need to take the shackles off him for the rest of the season and allow some freedom to move forward and create. There is no point in 0-0 draws any more if we are going to move up the table.

We're not going down
We're not going up
We're Ipswich Town etc etc
3

Theipswich added 08:31 - Mar 13
It must be so disheartening for our youth Players to know that the manager doesn't give a hoot about playing them and no matter how you play, when his favs come back you're out. Kenlock played very well on Saturday and should remain in at knudsen's expense. Statistics back it up and Miles is a far better all rounder...and gives us more flair and attacking vim. Under Mccarthy we might a swell close down the Academy givent he importance he attaches to it. Under Sir bobby and George burly and even Joe, it was our bedrock...and always will be even after McCarthy is long gone.
3

SamWhiteUK added 09:23 - Mar 13
"We're doing all the same things" is probably the problem
6

brittaniaman added 09:25 - Mar 13
Take some footballing Lessons on how to attack from Joe Royle Dino ????
At least those days there were plenty of Goals flying about !!!!!!
3

yungblue added 10:02 - Mar 13
i imagine MM will go for:
bart
spence
CCV
chambers
webster
knudsen
skuse
hyam
ward
waghorn
celina
-1

raycrawfordswig added 10:33 - Mar 13
Blah Blah Blah every game .Change the record clown
0

floridaboy added 10:51 - Mar 13
Why didn't he play the team that beat Wednesday?

Why make changes?

Does he know what he is doing?

Does he really care?

Something has ticked him off after yesterdays rather short press conference which means he will go ultra defensive tonight to really tick off the fans.

Can see Skuse and Hyam in the middle yet Gleeson seems the only one who wants to play a ball forward.

Bart
Spence Chambers Webster Knudsen
Skuse Hyam
Ward Gleeson Sears
Waghorn

Pitch will kill the game and Hull will sneak a 1-0 and then wait for the excuses after the match!
1

floridaboy added 11:01 - Mar 13
Wrong team. It should have read
Bart
CCV Chambers Webster
Spence Skuse Hyam Knudsen
Ward Waghorn Sears

Still don't think it will make any difference to the scoreline!
1

big_gaz67 added 12:29 - Mar 13
My team for tonight would be

Bart

Spence CCV Chambers Knudsen

Webster

Ward Celina

Sears

Waghorn Morris

0

massivemole added 14:11 - Mar 13
Positive message for mick and chambers.WE DONT HAVE DARYL MURPHY ANYMORE,SO STOP KICKING IT LONG. we'll see
1


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