Hurst: A Special Moment to Lead Town Out at Hillsborough
Friday, 24th Aug 2018 12:21
Boss Paul Hurst says it will be a special moment when he leads his Town side out at Hillsborough on Saturday to face Sheffield Wednesday, the club he supported as a boy. The Blues go into the match still looking for a win under Hurst’s management but unbeaten in nine at Hillsborough and having won their last two.
Sheffield-born Hurst says the Owls remain close to his heart: “From going to watch games that was my team growing up and then playing for Sheffield Boys I got to play out on the pitch quite a few times.
“I’ve seen the stadium change, I’ve seen some very good players there and good teams at various points.
“I went to the game the other night [the 2-1 victory over Millwall], which brought back some memories and when they come out and the songs get going it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up a little.
“But very much come Saturday there’s only one team I want to win, that’s for sure and it isn’t Sheffield Wednesday.”
He says that although he spent a brief spell training at Wednesday he was never close to joining them as a youngster.
“I went there as a schoolboy in one of the holidays but I was already at Rotherham,” he recalled.
“I went across and I didn’t really enjoy it at the time so I chose to stay where I was and I guess the rest is history.
“I don’t know how it might have panned out differently, I might never have made it as a pro and been doing some other career now.”
Hurst says he will have family and friends at the game and loyalties will be split: “My brother and my dad are Sheffield Wednesday fans and want to see them do well.
“I’ve got friends at the game and will be seeing some of them afterwards that want Sheffield Wednesday to win but not by too many, they’ve told me.
“My family want me to win on this occasion, I think anyway! Some of them will be there. It’s a nice occasion at the same time it's something I’m not getting too wrapped up in but it will be a special moment in one way to lead a team out at Hillsborough.
“But when that whistle goes and it’s game on and we’ll be looking to try and get that first victory.”
Remembering the Owls teams he watched growing up, Hurst added: “In the first one Gary Bannister was the big hero and Gary Shelton, the team that reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup [in 1983]. I wasn’t allowed to go, I had to go swimming while my dad went down to Highbury, and they lost.
“Then there was the team with Brian Marwood in it, again a very good team. I watched them lose a semi-final at Villa Park against Everton [in 1986]. I’ve seen a few and obviously when they won the League Cup with John Sheridan’s goal.
“They have had some very, very good times, the last few years have been a little frustrating for them, when they lost in the play-off final and then obviously they’ve a few issues currently.
“But it’s still a very big football club and certainly one that’s well supported and something I’m looking forward to experiencing, along with hopefully a good Ipswich following at the game. There should be a good atmosphere in the ground.”
Looking at Wednesday so far this season, Hurst said: “They’ve changed their system already at times, their personnel’s changed so it’s not the easiest of games where I can tell you exactly what they’re going to do.
“I know what they’ve done at times and we certainly know the real quality players that they possess.
“They’ve given quite a lot of young players opportunities, certainly [on Wednesday] night when I watched them there were quite a few in the team then with what many fans and other people would say were stronger players on the bench.
“Whether or not that was because they’re playing Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday and just mixing it up or whether they stick with what was a winning team if people are fit I don’t know.
“So it’s not the easiest one to inform the players, ‘This is who you’ll be facing’. I think in the Blackburn game, for instance, I got the team spot on and probably at times we’ve been maybe one or two wrong if wrong at all.
“I’m really uncertain of what that team will be but again I think we know the threats that they carry depending on which personnel are in there.”
Hurst has said he won’t be making too many changes to his team despite the 2-0 defeat at Derby in midweek following the impressive 10-man 1-1 draw with Aston Villa last Saturday.
Bartosz Bialkowski will be in goal with the back four set to stay the same with Janoi Donacien at right-back, Jonas Knudsen on the left and skipper Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala at the heart of the defence.
Trevoh Chalobah will continue in the deeper midfield role with doubts about the fitness of both Cole Skuse (quad) and Jon Nolan (ankle).
Hurst was less confident that Skuse would be fit than Nolan with Flynn Downes and Tayo Edun, who is back after his one-match ban, in line to come in if they don’t make it.
If he isn’t required in the centre, on-loan Fulham man Edun may return on the left for Grant Ward with Gwion Edwards on the right.
Hurst again has a decision to make whether to continue to start Ellis Harrison in the lone striker’s role or give Kayden Jackson his full Championship debut. Jackson may well be the man to get the nod against the Owls.
Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay was pleased his side’s performance as they beat Millwall to pick up their first win of the campaign. The Owls are currently 17th on four points in the early season table.
“We were very happy with the team on Wednesday and now we have new focus for tomorrow. We want that second win of the season at our home,” he said.
“I saw passion, ambition and intensity from every player on Wednesday. The fans could see that and they played a big part in helping us win that game. Their energy transferred onto the pitch and we have great respect for that.
“There will be high motivation in both sides but we want that good feeling after the 90 minutes tomorrow.”
Luhukay gave full debuts to 20-year-old left-back Matt Penney and midfielder Fraser Preston, 19, on Wednesday and he was pleased with their contributions.
“We trusted the young players before, when we see them in training but you never know how they might cope with pressure. It was a big game for them and the team and they were fantastic.
“The team gave a fantastic reaction from after [the 2-0 defeat at] Brentford. We must have the same performance tomorrow and be strong as a team.”
Luhukay says striker Lucas Joao and full-back Daniel Pudil could both make their returns after groin injuries, but centre-half Joost van Aken is still out with an ankle problem.
Historically, Town have the edge having won 20 games (19 in the league), Wednesday 18 (17) and with 13 (12) matches having ended in draws.
Town are unbeaten in nine at Hillsborough having last been defeated there 2-0 in April 2007 under Jim Magilton's management. That loss is their only reverse in 12 on Wednesday turf stretching back to a 4-1 Premiership defeat in the early days of George Burley's time in charge back in May 1995, the Blues' last game of that relegation season.
The teams most recently met at Hillsborough in March as Town beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Hillsborough - as they had the previous season - to extend former boss Mick McCarthy’s remarkable record of never losing at Hillsborough in his 26 years as a manager.
Martyn Waghorn, who had gone 15 games without a goal prior to the match, turned home Callum Connolly’s header in the 51st minute then, after Wednesday sub Lucas Joao had equalised on 69, netted a superb freekick seven minutes from time to seal back-to-back away wins for the Blues.
At Portman Road in November last year, Wednesday sub Atdhe Nuhiu headed an equaliser four minutes into injury time to grab a 2-2 draw.
Joe Garner put Town ahead on 48, Hooper levelled via a 64th minute penalty after Jordan Spence had handballed, then Waghorn’s header on 70 looked to have won it for the Blues until Nuhiu’s late goal stole an undeserved point for the visitors.
Blues striker David McGoldrick was forced off at half-time after suffering a bad gash to his groin after a high Glenn Loovens challenge in the opening minutes which went unpunished.
Ex-Blues striker Jordan Rhodes is still an Owls player but is on loan at Norwich, while defender Morgan Fox was a schoolboy at Town's Playford Road academy before being released at 11. Former Blues left-back Neil Thompson coaches their U23s.
Saturday’s referee is Jeremy Simpson from Lancashire, who has shown 11 yellow cards and no red so far this season.
Simpson’s last Town game was the 3-0 home defeat by Hull City in April in which he booked only Bersant Celina.
Prior to that he had refereed only two Town matches in which he awarded a total of four penalties.
The 1-0 defeat at Rotherham in April 2017 which he awarded a seventh-minute spot-kick when Josh Emmanuel 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.
Prior to that he was the man in the middle for 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, Skuse and Christophe Berra.
Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Donacien, Spence, Knudsen, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Nsiala, Skuse, Chalobah, Downes, Nydam, Edun, Edwards, Sears, Ward, Roberts, Nolan, Harrison, Jackson.
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 279 bloggers
Reflections On the Change of Ownership at Ipswich by PhilR
I am in my late 50s and have supported the club for as long as I can remember.
Power of Motivation by LegendRay
The strangest and most disappointing aspect of this season has been lack of bounce.
Demolition Man by tractorboykent
Paul Cook isn’t a man to mince words. Even though we are all sick of the continuing spiral of underachievement at Town, it was nevertheless still a bit of a shock to hear him lay into the 18 that capitulated to Wimbledon in what he described before kick-off as a season defining match.
Here We Go by tractorboykent
For a club recently described as Britain’s unhappiest, it may seem odd that Town fans are suddenly awash with optimism now that the deal is done.
One of the Strongest Squads? by NormEmerges
I keep hearing that ITFC has one of the strongest squads in League One. It’s certainly true that we have one of the biggest squads, but strongest? I would assume ‘strongest’ to mean ‘includes higher quality players for this league’. What do the facts tell us?
Ipswich Town Polls
[ Vote here ]