|Ipswich Town 1 v 2 Coventry City|
Tuesday, 10th December 2019 Kick-off 19:45
Town Versus Coventry Part Three: This Time There Has to Be a Winner
Monday, 9th Dec 2019 15:08
Town and Coventry face one another for the third time in 10 days on Tuesday, on this occasion in an FA Cup second-round replay at Portman Road, with a winner guaranteed following two 1-1 draws at St Andrew’s.
Tuesday’s match will go to extra-time and penalties if the scores are level at full-time, as was the case with the first FA Cup tie just over a week ago and then Saturday’s League One fixture.
“We’re going to speak to them now to see if we can organise a friendly in between the two games!” assistant manager Stuart Taylor joked following the second match at the weekend.
“It’s the way that it’s turned out. We didn’t manage to see the game out against them last Sunday so we’ve got another game.
“But there’s nothing better than playing games and winning games, so we look forward to the game on Tuesday night.
“It’s going to be a home tie and it’s great to go and play in front of the supporters at Portman Road, so we can experience that atmosphere again and we’re looking forward to it.”
Reminded that there has to be a winner by one route or another on Tuesday, he added: “I would like to [have won] the last two games but wasn’t to be. I think what you will have seen from the two teams is that you’ll always get a great game of football.
“Both teams look to go and play in the right manner, they’re an honest bunch of players, both sides, and it’ll be a good game.
“Hopefully we’ll have the edge this time with the supporters behind us and hopefully we’ll go and win the game.”
If the game does go to penalties then the Blues have recent experience of winning a shootout at Peterborough last Wednesday, only the club’s third spotkick victory in their history, although it’s likely the team will be somewhat different to the youthful line-up which defeated Posh.
“I think the other night was a great experience for all the lads that were involved,” Taylor continued.
“You look at the age of the back four which finished against Ivan Toney, a lad reportedly worth £11 million, it was great experience for the young kids.
“If it goes to penalties, it goes to penalties. What the team is, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Reflecting on how the Blues might line-up, he said: “The gaffer’s got his squad rotation, which has worked well this season. Whether he goes and changes things up again or whether he keeps it the same is a decision that he’ll make.
“I’m sure we’ll all be involved in that as always and we’ll probably come to that decision Sunday/Monday.
“The lads are in training tomorrow [Sunday], we’ll reassess everybody in terms of injuries and knocks and bruises that they’ve picked up today and during the week and we’ll see where we are for picking a team for Tuesday night.”
While the FA Cup teams haven’t been as youthful as the Leasing.com Trophy sides, young players such as Brett McGavin have been involved and Taylor says that may be the case again.
“That’s always a possibility,” he added. “He’s come in, as all the younger ones have, and done very, very well, they can take a lot of pride out of their performances and they’ve shown they’re capable of coming up and doing a job at the right time and against the right teams.
“If there’s an opportunity, the gaffer’s not scared and not shy of putting younger kids in. If he feels it’s the right time to go and do it then he’ll do it.”
Tuesday’s team is probably even tougher to second guess than most Town sides this season given that the XI which started against Coventry in the league on Sunday was, barring one change, the same as the one which lined-up in the initial FA Cup tie.
Lambert may look at giving Tomas Holy a game in goal, while he seems likely to continue with a back four given the lack of fit centre-halves at present.
It’s anticipated skipper Luke Chambers will be out for a few more days with his neck problem, but Toto Nsiala is back in training after his minor hamstring injury and may well be involved.
Therefore, if he is considered ready for match action, it seems likely the ex-Shrewsbury man will start alongside either James Wilson or Luke Woolfenden, while Lambert may look to make at least one change at full-back.
Myles Kenlock will probably come in at left-back but Janoi Donacien could again start on the right unless Lambert was sufficiently impressed by Barry Cotter at Peterborough or wants to give Gwion Edwards another game in his secondary role, although with Danny Rowe out with a knee problem the Town manager may not want to risk the Welshman.
In midfield, Lambert may look at resting at least two of Flynn Downes, Andre Dozzell and Jon Nolan, who started on Saturday.
Cole Skuse could return to the XI if his hip is no longer considered too much of a worry with Emyr Huws also another candidate for a role, if he is over the ankle knock he suffered at Peterborough. McGavin and Idris El Mizouni may also hope to be one of Lambert’s midfield trio.
Up front, the Blues boss could start James Norwood, who was unavailable for Saturday’s match due to a one-game ban, but may prefer to rest the former Tranmere man for Saturday’s visit by Bristol Rovers.
Similarly, he might not be keen to start Kayden Jackson ahead of the Pirates match and and Will Keane may not be ready to start twice in four days, so Jordan Roberts could start as the lone central striker.
Armando Dobra looks likely be handed one of the wide roles with Anthony Georgiou perhaps starting in the other.
Coventry manager Mark Robins expects another match with little between the teams.
“FA Cup’s different, I think going down to their neck of the woods, it’s a long journey down there, were going to go on Tuesday morning, we’ll have a wander down in the morning and then prepare for it on Tuesday," he said.
“Hopefully we can get a positive result. It’s another one to look forward to, I think they’re really tight games. There won’t be a great deal in it, there shouldn’t be a great deal in it but it’s the recovery time [which will be a factor].”
Reflecting on what Blues boss Lambert might do, he pondered whether Town might switch to a front two.
“They’ve got a strong squad, see the back of the programme [for Saturday's match], it’s very good," he said.
"He can do whatever he wants to do. He’ll probably play two up front on Tuesday, maybe he’ll play Jackson and Norwood.
“Whether he goes 3-5-2 or whether he goes 4-4-2, which he likes to do, we'll have to wait and see.
"Whether he changes it totally, to a diamond. I remember watching his Norwich team, he won’t thank me for saying that I suppose, but his Norwich team were good playing that.
"He’d play a diamond, he’d play 4-4-1-1, they’d bring Grant Holt on or he’d bring him off and he’d put widemen on.
“That’s how he does it, he’s an experienced manager so there are a lot of tactical elements within the game, it’s really good to see, to try and beat and obviously they’ve got good players.
"But we’ve proved that we’ve been a match for them on our own patch and we’ll try and turn that around on Tuesday night."
The winner of the tie, whether it's over 90 minutes, extra-time or penalties, will face the victors of next Tuesday's Plymouth-Bristol Rovers replay at Home Park, their initial tie at the Memorial Stadium having ended 1-1.
Town have a good record against Coventry over the years, winning 37 games (35 in the league), losing 22 times (20) and with 25 matches (23) ending in draws. The Sky Blues have won only three of the last 26 games between the clubs.
The teams last faced one another in League One at St Andrew’s on Saturday when Will Keane gave the Blues the lead in the 31st minute and Max Biamou levelled for the Sky Blues on 56.
Six days earlier the teams had met in the FA Cup, Keane again having given Town the lead before Callum O’Hare equalised deep in injury time.
The teams last met at Portman Road back in September 2011 in the Championship when Town got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 live Sky victory over Coventry.
A Martin Cranie own goal opened the scoring in the first half with Keith Andrews adding the second soon after and Jason Scotland sealing it after the break.
Tuesday's referee is Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire, who has shown 45 yellow cards and no red in 17 games so far this season.
Sarginson's most recent Town match was the 1-0 win at Gillingham in September in which he booked Wilson and Alan Judge as well as one home player.
His only Blues fixture prior to that was the 2-0 home victory over Brighton in September 2014 in which he booked Skuse, Jonny Parr, Paul Anderson and three of the visitors.
Squad from: Norris, Holy, Edwards, Donacien, Cotter, Garbutt, Kenlock, Wilson, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Henderson, Skuse, Dozzell, Downes, Huws, Nolan, McGavin El Mizouni, Judge, Georgiou, Dobra, Jackson, Keane, Norwood, Roberts.
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