Town Host Accrington For the First Time Aiming to Finally End Winless Run
Friday, 10th Jan 2020 15:29
Town host Accrington Stanley for the first time ever with the Blues looking to end a winless run which has seen them drop to fifth in League One.
Paul Lambert’s side last won in the league on November 5th at Rochdale and since then have gone eight league games without a victory, three defeats and five draws. In all competitions, they are without a win over 90 minutes in 12 matches.
At home the Blues’ form has been less than impressive all season with Town having won only three times in the league, while drawing five and losing two.
“It’s important that we get back to winning home and away,” Lambert said when asked about the home form issue.
“The away form’s been good and the home form’s not been so good, but we have to get back to winning games [wherever we are], that’s for sure. We have to get back to winning games.”
Town were last in action against Exeter in the Leasing.com Trophy last Saturday when they were beaten 2-1 by the League Two high-fliers and Lambert is likely to make changes from that team, perhaps to a side more like the one which drew 1-1 and probably deserved more against leaders Wycombe Wanderers on New Year’s Day.
Lambert has a decision to make about his goalkeeper with Norris having made an error on the Chairboys’ goal and Tomas Holy having looked confident against the Grecians.
With Janoi Donacien unlikely to be ready to return from his dead leg, the Blues will probably start with a three-man backline of Luke Woofenden, skipper Luke Chambers and James Wilson with Gwion Edwards and Luke Garbutt the wing-backs.
In midfield, Cole Skuse - or perhaps Andre Dozzell - and Flynn Downes will probably play behind Alan Judge with James Norwood and Kayden Jackson up front.
Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears will both be looking to play a part from the bench having made their first starts of the season at Exeter.
Accrington boss John Coleman, whose 17th-placed team have lost just one of their last nine in all competitions, says the Blues have been unfortunate in some of their recent matches.
“Ipswich won’t underestimate us,” Coleman told the Stanley official website. “We believe when we go anywhere, we can win but they will be wanting to get their season back on track as they have not been on the best of runs of late.
“It will be tough, we know that, but we expect that. I have watched some of their recent games and luck has deserted them in a few of them but you have to battle through that and if you start putting in performances, the results will come.
“I have never been to Portman Road so I am looking forward to that, it’s one of nine grounds out of the 92 I haven’t visited so I will tick that off on Saturday.
“If you look where Ipswich and Accrington were 10/12 years ago, we were poles apart and that should give hope to other clubs, similar to us, that good things can happen and you don’t always need a rich sugar daddy to do it.”
Striker Colby Bishop, who scored both goals when Stanley hosted the Blues and won 2-0, Town's first league defeat of the campaign, in October, is expected to return from a back injury having resumed training earlier in the week.
Winger Jordan Clark missed Tuesday’s on-penalties Leasing.com Trophy victory at Fleetwood due to a minor hamstring strain, while defender Mark Hughes is expected to return having been rested in midweek.
Midfielder Sean McConville is sidelined for the rest of the season having undergone achilles surgery.
Striker Billy Kee has not played this season as he is undergoing treatment for depression, anxiety and bulimia.
The sides have only met twice previously in their history, both at the Wham Stadium in the last two seasons.
In October, Bishop scored twice - the second a penalty - in a 2-0 victory to halt the Blues’ run of five successive wins in all competitions.
Bishop nodded the opener in the 17th minute before converting from the spot on 41 after a foul by Toto Nsiala. Both sides ended the match with 10 men after Armando Dobra and Ross Sykes were red-carded for an off-the-ball clash with 11 minutes remaining.
In January last year the Lancastrians won a third-round FA Cup tie 1-0 via Billy Kee’s 76th-minute goal.
Town striker Jackson joined the Blues from Accrington for £1.6 million in the summer of 2018, while right-back Donacien moved to Town for £750,000 during the same close season. Both were members of Stanley’s 2017/18 League Two title-winning side.
Blues defender Nsiala had a loan spell with Accrington from Everton in the second half of the 2011/12 season and then joined them on a permanent basis the following summer, spending a further 18 months at the Wham Stadium.
No current Accrington player has been with the Blues, although keeper-coach Tony Warner had a trial with Town in 1998.
Saturday’s referee is Charles Breakspear from Surrey, who has shown a not insignificant 94 yellow cards and 11 red in 21 games so far this season.
Breakspear was the fourth official on the end of Cardiff defender Sol Bamba’s outburst which led to his red card when the Bluebirds visited Portman Road in December 2016.
The last Town game he refereed was the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Stevenage at Portman Road in August 2016 in which he booked Tommy Smith and two visiting players.
He was also in charge of the 1-0 defeat at QPR in February of the same year in which he booked Kevin Bru and two home players.
Before that, he officiated in the 0-0 home draw with Wigan in January 2015 in which he booked Tommy Smith and three Latics.
Prior to that he took control of the 1-0 home victory over Bolton in February 2014, the winning goal a 55th-minute David McGoldrick penalty awarded after the striker had been hauled back by Trotters’ keeper Andy Lonergan, who had dropped a high ball.
Breakspear also refereed Town’s 3-0 pre-season friendly victory at Colchester in July 2013 in which he also awarded the Blues a spotkick, which Daryl Murphy scored after he was fouled by U’s keeper Sam Walker.
Squad from: Holy, Norris, Edwards, Garbutt, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Skuse, Dozzell, Downes, Huws, Judge, Bishop, El Mizouni, Dobra, Jackson, Keane, Norwood, Sears.
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