Town Look to Bounce Back From First Defeat as Rotherham Visit
Tuesday, 22nd Oct 2019 15:41
Town will be looking to bounce back from their first League One defeat of the season when Rotherham visit Portman Road on Wednesday evening (KO 7.45pm).
The Blues were uncharacteristically under par as they were beaten 2-0 at Accrington Stanley on Sunday and saw their lead at the top of the table cut to one point, although while having a game in hand on second-placed Wycombe Wanderers.
The Chairboys' 1-1 draw at Blackpool saw the Buckinghamshire side move level on points but with the Blues still top on goal difference.
Manager Paul Lambert wasn’t too deflated after the match given the overall context of the Blues’ start to the season.
Prior to Sunday's match Town had won their previous five in all competitions, while their most recent league defeat had been at Sheffield United in the penultimate game of last season, a run of 12 unbeaten, 11 from the start of this campaign.
The Blues boss says it’s now up to his side to react to that first loss, which he always knew would come at some point.
“You bounce back, that’s how you do it but our form has been unbelievable,” he said after Saturday’s match.
“We’ve been in really good form, we’re a really good side and we’ve just been beaten on a given day, which I knew would happen, whether it was going to be here or in 30 games’ time.
“I’ve been involved in football a long, long time. I’ve lost games and bounced back, bounced back every time.
“If we go another run like we’ve just been on, we’ll be right in the mix. But I’m not going to turn around and say ‘We lost one game and everybody’s downbeat’, nothing like that whatsoever.
“The challenge is there, we’ll have a challenge again because we’re a big club. Whether we win, lose or draw we’re a big club.
“When you lose people say ‘Are you disappointed?’. But we’re top of the league, I can’t be too critical of the team they’ve been fantastic for me.
“I said a few weeks ago there’s got to be a realism. Nobody would ever think that Man City would lose to Norwich or lose to Wolves, but that’s football. It’s how you bounce back and the good teams always bounce back.”
The Blues, who have won three of their five League One games at Portman Road this season and are unbeaten on their own turf since the 1-0 defeat to Swansea in April, are likely to have one or two changes of personnel from Sunday’s disappointment.
Tomas Holy will continue in goal but James Wilson, who is back from his one-match ban, seems likely to replace Toto Nsiala in the back three after the former Shrewsbury man endured a tough return to the senior side against Accrington, another of his old clubs.
Lambert will hope to have Kane Vincent-Young back from his groin injury and able to return at right wing-back with Gwion Edwards and Janoi Donacien the options if the ex-Colchester man doesn’t make it. Luke Garbutt seems set to continue on the left.
In midfield, Flynn Downes could return from his hip problem and take over from Andre Dozzell.
Lambert hinted at the weekend that Emyr Huws could start on Wednesday, although it was unclear whether that depended on Downes being unavailable. Otherwise, the Welshman could come in for Jon Nolan with Cole Skuse likely to continue in his holding role.
Up front, James Norwood could be back having undergone groin surgery a fortnight ago. Lambert also suggested Will Keane could start, although again that may depend on whether Norwood is able to return.
If Norwood is fit it seems likely the former Tranmere man will be partnered by Kayden Jackson with Keane probably playing a part from the bench.
Armando Dobra will miss out as he serves the first game of a three-match ban for his red card at the weekend.
The Millers will be without centre-half Clark Robertson due to a groin problem.
Rotherham assistant manager Richie Barker is impressed by Town's start to the season.
"To go towards the end of October before losing your first game marks an excellent start and they are clearly the early pacesetters," he told the Millers official site.
"They kept the majority of their squad from last season and they were pretty much everybody's favourites to go straight back up to the Championship.
"They're a massive club and the fans have definitely stuck with them because they're still getting brilliant home support. Paul Lambert is also an experienced manager who's been successful at all different levels. "I watched their game against Accrington and they had a few players missing, so I'm expecting a completely different Ipswich side and performance from them on Wednesday night.
"If they get a few of their key men back, it will obviously make it a little bit more difficult."
Despite being 12th following Tuesday's fixtures, nine points behind the Blues having played the same number of matches, the Millers have won three of their six League One away games this season, drawing one and losing two, which is better than their home record of won two, drawn two and lost two. On Saturday they lost 2-1 at home to Oxford United.
Town have won 15 of the previous games between the sides, all of which have been in the league at second tier level, eight have ended in draws, with the Millers having won nine.
In January, Keane’s first Blues goal saw Town to a 1-0 home victory over Rotherham at Portman Road as both sides unsuccessfully battled relegation.
Town, who moved seven points plus goal difference from safety as a result of the victory, were on top in the first half and Keane put them ahead from close range on 31.
However, the Millers dominated the second period and the Blues were forced to defend resolutely throughout to claim the three points and what was only their third clean sheet of the season.
In August 2018 at the New York Stadium in the season's second game, Michael Smith netted a 90th minute winner as Paul Hurst’s Blues were beaten 1-0 by the club where he spent most of his playing career.
Town had been on top for most of game and were denied two very strong penalty claims before the Millers’ striker hooked home following a corner.
The Rotherham squad includes ex-Town keeper Lewis Price. The 35-year-old joined Town as an academy scholar from Southampton and went on to make 74 starts and one sub appearance for the Blues between 2004 and 2007.
Rotherham goalkeeper-coach Mike Pollitt enjoyed a one-game loan spell with the Blues in November 2006, helping Town to a 3-1 derby defeat of Norwich City at Portman Road before his stint was cut short by injuries at his parent club Wigan.
Millers winger Chiedozie Ogbene had a spell on trial with the Blues in January 2018 - along with his Limerick team-mate Barry Cotter - before joining Brentford.
Wednesday’s referee is John Busby from Oxfordshire, who has shown 49 yellow cards and four red in 13 games so far this season. Busby will be refereeing his first Town match.
Squad from: Holy, Norris, Vincent-Young, Edwards, Donacien, Garbutt, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Wilson, Nsiala, Woolfenden, Skuse, Downes, Dozzell, Huws, Nolan, Judge, Rowe, Georgiou, Jackson, Norwood, Keane.
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